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Gfrc Panels Meet Goal Of World Cup Venue

While national soccer teams have yet to qualify for FIFA Football World Cup 2010, Austrians already have gained renown at the event's headquarters, Soccer

While national soccer teams have yet to qualify for FIFA Football World Cup 2010, Austrians already have gained renown at the event's headquarters, Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. From its Bavarian plant, Austrian producer Rieder Smart Elements is supplying nearly 40,000 fiberC glass reinforced concrete (GRC) panels in different colors and sizes for the structure's fa¡ade. As the largest stadium in all of Africa, the facility will seat nearly 95,000.

Architectural elements incorporated in the upgrade and extension of Soccer City Stadium emphasize Africa's traditional culture, as FIFA World Cup 2010 opening and closing matches will be the first such events staged on African soil. Designed by Johannesburg architect Boogertman Urban Edge & Partner, the stadium's outer skin Û comprising GRC modules on a metal subframe Û forms a shape resembling the calabash, a traditional African drinking vessel. Moreover, the concrete panels' natural tints and surface texture reflect the characteristics of the calabash fruit. Due to the structure and African color tones of its concrete fa¡ade, the project has acquired the moniker African Pot.

The impressive outer shell of the arena Û spanning 43,000 sq. meters [463,000 sq. ft.] Û is divided into a roof section of transparent polycarbonate elements and a fa¡ade comprising fiberC modules on a frame of 100,000 specially designed steel elements supplied by Austria's Valenta Metallbau. For the stadium fa¡ade, Rieder produced 30,000 sq. meters [323,000 sq. ft.] of fiberC components, based on a 1.2- _ 1.8-meter [3.94- _ 5.90-ft.] template, at its Kolbermoor, Germany plant.

The fiberC units traveled more than 5,280 miles to fiber Camp, a temporary shop erected by Rieder at Soccer City Stadium. Assembly of 2,100 modules, each composed of 16 panels, proceeds at the on-site facility. Featuring a thickness of only 13 millimeters [_ in.], the GRC elements nevertheless resist all weather conditions, the producer affirms, as they meet the demanding levels of fire-protection requirements and provide durability. An 80-day timetable for erection of the stadium fa¡ade is anticipated.

The total fa¡ade is divided into 10 vertical sections. Enhancing the structure's symbolic value, the theoretical extension of each one leads to other World Cup arenas. The last section, for example, lies on a vector in the direction of Berlin's Olympic Arena, where the FIFA World Cup 2006 final was hosted Û metaphorically bridging Europe and the African continent.

In addition to technical and aesthetic benefits, the GRC fa¡ade offers an ecological advantage: energy consumption required for fiberC production reportedly entails 40 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than that of cladding alternatives such as fiber cement panels or aluminium sheets. High-pressure laminate (HPL) panels use five times more energy than fiberC, Reider officials note.

Thus, the fiberC solution placed the producer among top competitors for the Soccer City Stadium fa¡ade. Among winning features are its modular format, complementary color scheme, integrated subframe, and ecological advantages, as well as on-site efficiencies afforded by Rieder's fiber Camp.