words Justin McGuirk
We visited Green Point Stadium in Cape Town earlier this year and got a behind-the-scenes tour of all the parts that won’t be appearing in the architectural reports.
The stadium, which is the venue of this Friday’s match between England and Algeria, was designed by German giant GMP with local architect Louis Karol. There are all kinds of things we could tell you about the fibreglass-mesh facade and the cantilevered roof, but for the purposes of this architecture tour we are more interested in the vicarious experience of being inside the team changing rooms. In fact, even more interesting than those are the holding cells underneath the stadium, where unruly fans will be locked up until the police can cart them off to an official station. The stadium police offices are an eerie combination of bland office furniture and framed portraits of attack dogs. What we didn’t know is that there’s also a warm-up room that looks like a kid’s five-a-side court.
As an aside, it’s worth mentioning that the stadium is believed to be standing on the very spot where the first football was kicked in South Africa, in an 1864 Winchester Rules match between British army officers and the civil service.
photographs by Justin McGuirk