São Paulo Arena, São Paulo, Brazil

Continuing our tour of 2014 World Cup stadia, we head today to São Paulo, and look at the stadium in which the World Cup will kick-off in Brazil. It will be known as São Paulo Arena for the World Cup, with naming rights otherwise still to be determined. 

It will also be the permanent home for famed Brazilian team Corinthians; following the World Cup, it will be downsized from a 68,000 capacity to 48,000, a more suitable size for the club who currently play at the 40,000 capacity Estádio do Pacaembu. The temporary seats fit into the gaps at either endline shown in the renderings. Here’s how it will work:

The new stadium is being built at a cost of $483 million in Itaquera, a district in the east of São Paulo. Financing is private for the bulk of the cost, excluding the temporary seating.

The selection of São Paulo Arena to host the World Cup’s opening game has not come without controversy. It’s not ideal for host nation Brazil, who will then head northeast to Fortaleza for their second game and play their third game in Brasilia – covering 2,436 miles traveling between the three cities, though that’s hardly São Paulo’s fault.

The new stadium’s design, by Anibal Coutinho, has not blown many people away as a stage for the World Cup to open at: functionally attractive it might be, stunning – not particularly, in my view at least.

Let’s take a look at the progress of construction so far, a perennial concern for most of Brazil’s 2014 World Cup builds. The start of construction was delayed as modifications to the design were made so that the stadium met not only FIFA’s general requirements to be a World Cup venue, but to meet the specific criteria to be an opening game arena, including the need for capacity to exceed 65,000. Work began only in May 2011, but big strides have been made quickly, as the below recent photos from the stadium’s construction company Odebrecht show

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