Spodek

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For the fur hat worn by some Hasidic sects originating from Poland, see Spodik.
Spodek
Katowice Spodek- Nowa elewacja.jpg
The Spodek arena after facade renovation in 2011
Location Katowice, Poland
Coordinates 50°15′58″N 19°01′31″E / 50.26611°N 19.02528°E / 50.26611; 19.02528Coordinates: 50°15′58″N 19°01′31″E / 50.26611°N 19.02528°E / 50.26611; 19.02528
Capacity 11 500
Construction
Broke ground 1964
Opened 1971
Tenants
2014 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship
Spodek as seen in downtown Katowice

Spodek (meaning "saucer" in Polish) is a multipurpose arena complex in Katowice, Poland, opened in 1971 at ul. Korfantego 35 under the name Wojewódzka Hala Widowiskowo-Sportowa w Katowicach (Voivodeship Sport and Show Arena in Katowice), under which it is known in the Polish technical/architectural literature, and under which it formally functioned until 1997.

Aside from the main dome, the complex includes a gym, an ice rink, a hotel and three large car parks. It was the largest indoor venue of its kind in Poland until it was surpassed by Kraków Arena in 2014. It hosts many important cultural and business events. Music concerts are especially common non-sport events. Spodek can hold 11,500 people, although this number is in practice limited to 10,000 or even 8,000 due to stage set-ups obscuring the view. Its Polish name refers to a flying saucer (its shape resembles a UFO). Spodek is a major contribution to the cultural significance of Katowice in Poland, especially for the younger generations. It has also been used as an unofficial logo for the city on posters promoting redevelopment in Katowice. Spodek is home to HC GKS Katowice ice hockey club in the winter months.

It has played host to many up-and-coming bands, such as Chumbawamba in 1997, as well as dozens of world-famous bands. There are also held music festivals such as Rawa Blues Festival, Metalmania and Odjazdy.

History[edit]

Spodek

The idea of building a large venue originated in 1955, while Katowice was temporarily renamed Stalinogród. A contest was held to select the best design. Initially, it was to be constructed on the outskirts of town, but the Voivodeship National Council decided it should be built near the city center. A mining waste dump site classified "2A" was chosen for construction.

The classification "2A" indicated medium mining damage with a possibility of local cave-ins. While excavating the foundations, the workers dug through coal instead of soil. Soon after construction began, rumors of design flaws in the new building spread, including the rumour that the dome would collapse when the scaffolding was removed. Because of this, in 1964, construction was halted for 18 months. Spodek's architects and chief engineers entered the dome when the supports were dismantled as a response to those rumors; clearly they survived. Before opening the building to the public, endurance tests were conducted – 3,500 soldiers marched into the hall and vibration of the building was measured. The outcome was positive.

Throughout Spodek's history, rumors have circulated concerning the extent of disrepair at the structure, concealed cracks or even its "falling apart". However, these rumours are unsupported by any evidence.

Technology[edit]

Night illumination of the façade
Spodek and Katowice centrum at night

Maciej Gintowt and Maciej Krasiński, architects of Spodek, designed the Spodek as one of the first major structures to employ the principle of tensegrity. The roof uses an inclined surface held in check by a system of cables holding up its circumference.

The structural engineer who conceived the unique tensegrity roof and made it work is Wacław Zalewski. His innovative structures include Supersam, a supermarket in Warsaw with a roof made up of alternating arches and cables, many unique industrial roofs in Poland, two basketball arenas in Venezuela with hanging roofs, the structure of the National Museum of Art in Caracas, the Venezuelan Pavilion at the Seville's Expo in 1992, and several bridges and roofs in South Korea.

Spodek in popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

Supersam Warsaw

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kibice wywalczyli nam polskie mecze, 15 January 2007

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Scandinavium
Gothenburg
European Indoor Championships in Athletics
Venue

1975
Succeeded by
Olympiahalle
Munich
Preceded by
Ahoy Rotterdam
Rotterdam
FIVB Volleyball World League
Final Venue

2001
Succeeded by
Mineirinho Arena
Belo Horizonte
Preceded by
Luzhniki Small Sports Arena
Moscow
FIVB Volleyball World League
Final Venue

2007
Succeeded by
Ginásio do Maracanãzinho
Rio de Janeiro
Preceded by
Palacio de Deportes de la CAM
Madrid
FIBA EuroBasket
Final Venue

2009
Succeeded by
Žalgiris Arena
Kaunas
Preceded by
PalaLottomatica
Rome
FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship
Final Venue

2014
Succeeded by
TBD