The World Cup ends this weekend, leaving Brazil with the heady task of deciding what, exactly, to do with the 12 stadiums that were built or converted for games. Two architects have published a proposal to convert the stadiums into something Brazil desperately needs: Affordable housing.
French architects Axel de Stampa and Sylvain Macaux have been tackling an architectural issue each week for 29 weeks running at their site 1 Week 1 Project. Their stadium-focused solutions entitled Casa Futebol are extremely timely this week, especially after outcry surrounding Japan's Olympic stadium forced architect Zaha Hadid to redesign it to be more flexible — and more multipurpose — at a savings of $US1.3 billion.
While the idea itself is completely unrealistic — these structures were not designed to support hundreds of additional housing units — it does raise an interesting question about exactly how the venues for these mega-events should be reused.
So what will happen in Brazil? Some of the venues will be dismantled (they were only temporary) and some will be reused (a few are undergoing special modifications for the 2016 Olympics), but for the most part, there is not any kind of long-term vision for how to best utilise the stadiums, which are gigantic structures that will often be sitting vacant. Adding housing, in a way, makes perfect sense.
At the heart of the Casa Futebol proposal is a colourful modular housing unit that can be installed between the concrete pylons that form much of the stadiums' infrastructure.
These units can easily stack around the structures' perimeters, making great use of what is traditionally wasted space in any sporting venue.
The stadiums themselves would remain functional, according to the proposal, with a portion of ticket sales going towards the maintenance and upkeep of the residential units themselves. I'd assume that kids would have access to the field when it's not being used, giving them the best public space in the city. And like the cluster of lucky homeowners who peer into Chicago's Wrigley Field, certain families would get what are pretty much front-row seats to all events.
While some stadiums claim they will be converted into public-accessible parks, even the most promising reuse plans for World Cup stadiums are still event-based, meaning they're financially dependent on someone's ability to book events and sell tickets. Turning a stadium into a high-density, mixed-use residential center is actually the perfect way to take advantage of the structure's size and central location.