Olympic Stadium Munich
The Olympic Stadium in Munich was constructed along with the Olympic Park and other sports facilities for the 1972 Summer Olympics. It was designed by the architectural firm of Behnisch & Partner (tent roof by Frei Otto and Leonhardt + Andrä). The characteristic 74,800-square-meter large tent roof construction that joins the stadium with the two neighboring venues to form an ensemble is still an impressive sight today. At the time of its construction, the roof was widely viewed as an engineering and artistic sensation.
The 1972 Summer Olympic Games were the first to be held in Germany since the 1936 Berlin Olympics and Munich wanted to present itself to the world as a democratic and cosmopolitan city. This wish is reflected in the architecture. In order to soften the structure’s domineering impression, Behnisch & Partner conceived it as an earth stadium, meaning that two thirds of the building is embedded in an artificial hilly landscape that Behnisch & Partner planned with Günther Grzimek.The transparent, lightweight tent-roof construction stretched above also adheres to this concept.
The architects found inspiration for the canopy in the tent structure designed by Frei Otto and Rolf Gutbrod for 1967 Montreal World’s Fair. Numerous planners were involved in the development and realization of the stadium roof’s complex construction, especially the architects Günter Behnisch, Fritz Auer, and Frei Otto as well as the construction engineers Fritz Leonhardt and Jörg Schlaich. The canopy consisting of a prestretched tensile structure is supported by cables and pylons; translucent acrylic skin is affixed that prevents hard shadows in the stadium.
After the Olympics, the stadium was home to Munich’s local soccer teams, FC Bayern München and sporadically TSV 1860 München. Since FC Bayern moved to its new pitch in the Allianz Arena (2005), the stadium has primarily been used as a venue for open-air concerts and other events. Originally planned solely for the Olympics, the tent roof was retained because of the enthusiastic response it elicited from sports fans and the international engineering community alike. All of the acrylic panels were replaced in conjunction with a 2002 renovation. With ist impressive construction and striking appearance, the tent roof has become one of Munich’s most beloved local landmarks. [KS/HY]
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