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Roo Roofing Blog



Gold Medalist Olympic Roof Designs

Has roofing ever captured your imagination like it has ours? Okay, so roofs might not always be something that comes to mind when you think of something awe-inspiring, but we think that after you’ve read this blog you might just change your mind.

In this post we take a look at some of the most amazing roof designs to ever be placed above our heads or at least to be viewed on our screens – did you guess which ones we’re talking about? Check out these amazing Olympic stadium designs.

The Aerial Shot

Stadium design has changed very little since the days ways back in Ancient Greece open-air buildings with a round or oval central area, and seats placed around it, providing spectators with optimal viewing of many different activities, but there is one major shift that changes the way we approach stadium design today, and this is of course, considering the best camera angles.

Modern day stadiums incorporate distinctive landmarks that are both architecturally bold and camera-ready; the roof is now built while considering that it doesn’t obscure the view of public spectators watching events ‘live’ on TV. There’s no time for editing, and huge sporting events like the Olympics require close ups and play-by-plays – roofs simply cannot get in the way.

Let’s take a look at some ingenious roof designs of past Olympic stadiums:


Although not technically an ‘Olympic’ stadium we had to include the beautiful stadium, Qizhong Forest Sports City Arena, a 15,000-seat tennis venue built to host the ATP World Tour Finals between 2005 and 2008. The stadium, located in southwest Shanghai, China, is of Olympic proportions featuring a remarkable segmented steel roof that opens and closes to accommodate indoor or outdoor events. The petal-shaped sections retract in just eight minutes and were designed to represent a blooming magnolia, the city flower of Shanghai.


Arguably the most beautiful stadium, the “Bird’s Nest” draws inspiration from Chinese ceramics. Interestingly, plans for a retractable roof – a requirement that gave rise to the nest-style design – were abandoned following the collapse of a vaulted roof at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France.


Dubbed the “Big O” thanks to its donut-shaped roof, Canada’s Olympic stadium in Montreal has been described as a “masterpiece of organic modern architecture.”

Sustainable Roofs

Modern stadiums are now not only built with the consideration of providing shelter, and the added dimension of cameras and TV screens; they also need to be built ethically, with sustainability being the key factor.


Check out London’s official Olympic Aquatics centre: the ceiling is made up of 30,000 sections of sustainably sourced Red Lauro timber, while the wave-shaped roof includes a robust aluminium covering – half of which is recycled. The temporary seating either side of the centre roof is made from steel and phthalate-free (the chemical which gives plastic it rigidity) PVC wrap.


London’s Olympic Velodrome is also a great example of the sustainable roof. Its standout elliptical roof collects and uses rainwater – apparently reducing mains water usage by 70%. The most striking feature is the use of a cable-net roof design – ‘strung’ with steel cables like a tennis racquet – meaning conventional steel beams were not required. It had the added bonus of saving 20 weeks in construction time.

Future Olympic Roofs

Currently in its design stage, Australian architects are working to redesign Sydney’s ANZ Olympic stadium. A key highlight of the stadium will be a transparent retractable roof that will open or close in 20 minutes to ensure playing conditions and spectator comfort all-year round. The project will commence only when an agreement between Government and private enterprise on a funding model has been reached but a statement from the ANZ Stadium organisation says that should be following the 2016 NRL grand final.



Are there any other Olympic stadiums or sporting venues you think stand out from the rest? Share with us in a comment below.