Composites Featured in Olympic Architecture

The 2016 Olympics will be spread across 32 venues new and old, both in Rio de Janeiro and five co-host cities. To speed preparations, several older facilities have gotten facelifts and now feature composite technologies.


Soccer fans able to look away from the field at Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasilia, Brazil, may appreciate the GFRP roofing system recently added to the renovated facility. Photo credit: Birdair

Among other highlights, composite panels are serving as the base for the restoration of an historic mosaic at the entrance to Rio’s Maracanã stadium, the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies. Supplier Barracuda Advanced Composites explains that the porcelain mosaic, designed by artist Paulo Werneck in the early 1950s for the opening of the World Cup in Brazil, is being glued on composite panels to preserve the authenticity of the mosaic wall and increase its durability. The panels were manufactured using resin infusion, with fiberglass facings and PVC foam core, while the mosaic is adhered with an epoxy adhesive.

And fiberglass-based tensile roofs now cover portions of the Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasilia and Estádio Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, two of the venues to host Olympic football (better known as soccer to Americans). The roofing systems feature titanium dioxide-coated polytetrafluoroethylene, a Teflon®-coated woven fiberglass membrane. Fabricator Birdair explains that titanium dioxide is a flame-resistant coating applied to the fiberglass membrane that requires less maintenance due to its self-cleaning capabilities.