The Arena Fonte Nova was officially opened on 7 April in Salvador, Brazil, after four years of planning and construction. Football fans flocked to the 50,000-capacity stadium to watch Vitoria beat local rivals Bahia 5-1.
The brand new stadium, built at a cost of nearly US$300m, has been selected to stage the Olympic football tournament in 2016. This summer, three matches of the FIFA Confederations Cup will take place in the arena, and it will also stage six FIFA World Cup matches in 2014.
The arena has maintained its original identity, keeping its horseshoe shape with a large opening in the southern part of the stands. The opening establishes a direct relation to the adjacent inner city lake and, simultaneously, provides optimal airflow in the stadium bowl itself.
The unique form also means the arena can be used for other events all year round, as stages for concerts and theatre events can be put in the area at the opening without conflicting with the pitch and the football matches during the football season.
Sustainability was key to the design and construction of Arena Fonte Nova, with materials carefully selected in order to minimise the stadium’s energy consumption, and concrete from the former stadium recycled and used as building material. It also uses rainwater to reduce water consumption.
Brazil President Dilma Rousseff, speaking at the inauguration ceremony prior to the opening match, said: “We are an unbeatable country. We will show that Brazil can deliver great quality to the Confederations Cup, the World Cup and the Olympics.”