Estádio do Dragão (Dragon Stadium) in Porto, Portugal, is characterized by an elegant frame of 21 000 meters squared of azulejos, which are the typical white and sky-blue Portuguese tiles. The first azulejos can be found at the entrance and looks like a big dragon that gives name to the stadium.
The Dragon Stadium has a seating capacity of 50 106 which is divided between two levels of reinforced concrete tiers. Only the lower one is continuous along the perimeter of the playing field's rectangle. The upper tier appears to gravitate on the lower one due to a sense of light that is created by a curved and streamlined profile towards their ends.
A white trellis complements the steel roof's structure and characterizes the shape of the upper tiers. Translucent and polycarbonate panels make up the remainder of the roof.
The roof over the stand behind the goal connects with the roofs of the main tribunes. It is made of the same materials as the other roofs, and the structure is one of great transparency which is achieved by the choice of space where the upper tiers are excluded. This opens the stadium to its natural environment which provides an excellent source of light.
The roof is extended to cover the entire cylindrical space around the stadium and it prevents rain from falling on the four large cement pillars that rise from the ground and act as anchors to hold the white trellis.
The modern and highly functional project by architect Manuel Salgado has been a catalyst for the surrounding areas as the stadium sits in the centre of this important area. It can host numerous events, sports and concerts, both inside the stadium and at the large square in front of the main entrance.
© by Angelo Spampinato