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Estádio Municipal de Braga

Estádio Municipal de Braga Stadium was created on the mountainside by levelling down a pit of the mountain Monte Castro and served as a hosting venue for the Euro 2004 tournament.

One tribune has been literally inserted and placed against the hill, while the other tribune stands free along the mountain's declivity. On the other side, the rocks have been excavated and there are no tribunes that hide the beautiful scenery of the valley. Accordingly, the stadium becomes part of the mountain.

In order to have the project executed with great precision, granite rock was removed through a series of small explosions. The space that was successively created supports the tribune that consists of two levels of tiers. On the other hand, the opposite tribune is supported by 16 centrings of reinforced concrete - it is particularly characterized by three circular galleries through which horizontal walk ways were inserted.

The entrances to the tribunes reflect heterogeneity: while one tribune is accessible at the bottom, the other one (that is placed against the hill) is accessible at the top. The height difference between the two tribunes equals 40 meters (131 feet).

The tiers are covered by a structure of steel cables which are tightened between the two tribunes. They go across the entire playing field and resemble the ancient and rusticated bridges that were constructed by the Incas.

The stadium offers an unusual and innovative frame. First, it was built in harmony into a natural environment characterized by granite walls on one side and an open space on the other, offering a natural scenery in proximity to the playing field. Second, the stadium is not conventional because it does not have stands behind the goals, which is an architectural choice that greatly deviates from the traditional European method. Architect Eduardo Souto de Moura counter-argued with a statement of large stature; moving his hand from left to right and vice versa, he said: "According to me football (soccer) is watched like this!".

© by Angelo Spampinato

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