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Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to Receive Tensioned Membrane Roof from Birdair, Inc.

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to Receive Tensioned Membrane Roof from Birdair, Inc.

Birdair to Serve as Roofing Sub-Contractor for Three FIFA 2010 World Cup Stadiums

Published: March 31, 2009

Birdair, Inc., the leading specialty contractor of lightweight long-span roofing systems and tensile structures throughout the world, has been awarded roofing contracts for three of the four primary 2010 Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup Stadiums, including Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.

As the first world-class stadium to be built in the City of Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium presents Birdair with another unique opportunity to showcase the architectural and aesthetic capabilities and advantages of lightweight long-span tensile architecture. As roofing sub-contractor for the 50,000- seat venue, Birdair’s project role includes design, engineering and construction of the tensile roofing system, as well as erecting 2,400 metric tonnes of roof girders.

“The most challenging aspect of NMB Stadium has been the design, fabrication and erection of the thirty-six 150 foot cantilevering trusses”, says Thomas Wuerch, Birdair’s Vice President of Operations. “The complex geometry and tight tolerances required to construct these 60 tonne trusses have made this the most demanding of the three South African World Cup projects. However, with three quarters of the roof now erected, the finished product looks incredible; it’s well worth all the hard work.”

With a design rivaling that of acclaimed athletic venues around the world, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will enjoy a variety of aesthetic and functional benefits due to the incorporation of tensioned membrane roofing system.

Aesthetically, the roof’s open look will resemble a sunflower when viewed from above, complementing the diverse natural beauty of the surrounding Port Elizabeth. Approximately 230,000 square feet of fabric membrane comprised of PTFE (or polytetrafluoroeethylene which is commonly know by the brand name Teflon®) coated fiberglass will form the undulating roof design.

Functionally, the valleys formed by the tensioned-membrane roof’s cable system will help drain rainwater while sheltering spectators from undesirable weather. Aluminum cladding will be installed on the 36 cantilever trusses that support the edges of each fabric panel. 

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium’s North End Lake location, a little over a mile away from the shores of Algoa Bay, will provide scenic views for attendees inside the stadium while showcasing the architecture for those viewing the venue from the water.

In addition to accommodating spectators and players, the facility’s five multi-purpose levels will house conference rooms, offices, corporate boxes and a security area.

The 19th FIFA World Cup is scheduled for June 11 to July 11, 2010, in nine South African cities. This marks the first time that the tournament will be hosted by a nation in the Confederation of African Football.

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will play host to five first-round matches, one second-round match, one quarterfinal and one third-place playoff. Following the World Cup, the stadium will be used for conferences, training and event purposes.

Construction on the athletic facility is slated for completion in May 2009. In addition to Birdair, the project team consists of GMP Architect of Berlin, Germany, Schalich-Bergermann & Associates of Stuttgart, Germany and Grinaker/Interbeton JV from South Africa and Holland.

In addition to Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Birdair is also serving as the roofing sub-contractor for two additional South African 2010 World Cup venues – specifically, Green Point Stadium and Durban Stadium.

To date, Birdair has completed work on 65 sports facilities globally, incorporating tensile architecture into a variety of single-sport and multi-purpose stadiums and arenas. Birdair combines breakthrough technologies with unparalleled experience to create structures that meet both facility and patron requirements.  

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About Birdair: Birdair, Inc. is the leading specialty contractor of custom tensile structures throughout the world. In addition to pre-construction services such as design assistance, budgeting, construction methodologies and project scheduling, Birdair provides design-build solutions in all aspects of project design, engineering, installation and maintenance. The company offers a selection of architectural fabric membranes, including PTFE fiberglass, ETFE film, PVC and Tensotherm™. Birdair, based in Buffalo, NY, is a member of the Taiyo Kogyo Group, with operations serving North and South America and other international locations. For more information about Birdair, like us on Facebook, call 1-800-622-2246 or visit www.birdair.com.