Olympic Stadium, Munich, Germany

Frei Otto, G√ľnther Behnisch, Hermann Peltz, Carlo Weber
Date Built
Opened May 26, 1972
The foundation stone for the Olympic Park was laid on July 14, 1968.

The guide book for the Olympiastadion explains that, "... Free space of about 280 hectares in size was available to construct competition venues and accommodation for the athletes at the Oberwiesenfeld on the north side of Munich, just a few kilometers away from the city centre.  The area, practically undeveloped, made it possible to implement the idea of 'games in green surroundings' and at the same time to fulfill the premise of 'Olympic Games with short distances'.  With its spectacular tent roof, Gunter Behnisch's office won the architectural competition.  Frei Otto realized the draft of the curved tent roof."

The original capacity of the stadium was 80,000 but today it has seating for just over 69,000.  Following the Olympics it became the venue for events like the European Cup Final of 1979.  In 1990 it became the home ground of two of Munich's football teams: TSV 1860 Munich and Bayern Munich.  The teams played here until 2005 when they moved to the newly built Allianz Arena.  Today the stadium hosts a variety of events and on the day we visited it was preparing to be the finishing line for the Munich Marathon. 

An article on the Archdaily.com website addresses the story behind the design of the stadium roof.  "Otto and Behnisch conceptualized a sweeping tensile structure that would flow continuously over the site imitating the draping and rhythmic protrusions of the Swiss Alps.  The result is a suspended cloud-like structure that appears to be floating over the site branching in between the natatorium, gymnasium, and the main stadium.  The continuous tensile surface that bridges all of the main buildings of the Olympic Games is subject to a hierarchical structural system that creates a series of volumes across the site.  The canopies membrane is suspended from a multitude of vertical masts that allow for the dramatic draping curves of the surface to flow dynamically across the site changing form, scale, and sectional characteristics."

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