Our competition win to develop a new roof for the Arena di Verona

Baukultur 03.05.2017

Knut Stockhusen

Our competition win to develop a new roof for the Arena di Verona

The Arena di Verona is among the most prominent and magnificent historic buildings in the world and is part of the cultural identity of a city, a country and a society and is at the same time an incredible proof of the cultural and technical grandness of its designers and constructors from more than 2.000 years ago.


When we learned about the upcoming competition of ideas, to develop a retractable roof and protection over the Arena di Verona, we were instantly intrigued and formed the team of schlaich bergermann partner and gmp architects. Looking back at a very long friendship and very successful collaboration of our two offices and the countless jointly created projects, several in a similar context as the Arena di Verona, we were convinced to have the right setup for such an endeavor.


Bringing modern work and components in context with an antique heritage environment requires experience, creativity, technical excellence, sensitiveness, understanding of the existing and dedication beyond anything, to push the limits and create the grounds for technical evolution and innovation.


We quickly realized that nowadays available solutions, which we invented for other projects wouldn't result in the desired outcome. A revolutionary combination of proven technologies was to be developed to perfectly comply with all design brief requirements and our personal expectation.


The result is a unique and beautiful yet sensitive solution respecting the wonderful heritage of the arena and its direct surrounding. The arena and countless events can now benefit from a most flexible deployable lightweight textile solution, built and integrated in a micro invasive manner, equipped to withstand the environmental impacts, almost invisible when not needed and majestically hovering above the arena when deployed.


When we were children we walked through Verona watching the ancient structures in awe, dreaming of those events that happened within the majestic walls over the past centuries and of those who had the knowledge and skills to design and construct something that would survive thousands of years - much longer than any modern building will ever do, and something of which modern designers can still only dream.


Being now blessed with the opportunity to participate in such a competition, involving and competing against the best designers in the world, was a great honor and joy. Being the selected winner is a once in a lifetime experience and great achievement and enriches already now our professional and personal lives. Our readiness and dedication paired with the unique technical capability will bring life to this amazing project until it is realized and in full performance. 

Animation of retractable roof of Arena di Verona

Copyright Verona Bild

Image: © technical renderings: sbp

architectural visualization: gmp/ a promise 

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