This article is available also in spanish here

7 stadiums that have reemerged…with rather different uses

My list

Author | Lucía Burbano

Stadiums, and particularly Olympic stadiums, are normally built to host specific sporting events that usually last just a few weeks. At the end of the sporting event, these large infrastructures costing millions are rarely used for other activities. They normally become an elephants' graveyard and a solid economic argument for not hosting sporadic sporting events. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Housing, prisons, churches... this is how sports stadiums are being reused

Examples around the world illustrate that it is possible to reuse sports infrastructures and give them a second opportunity. Not always related to sports, some of these new uses are quite astonishing.

National Aquatic Center, Beijing

old stadium 5

In Beijing, the National Aquatic Center, built to host the swimming events for the 2008 Olympic Games, was split in two after the event. Today, apart from maintaining the sports structure, it is home to the 'Happy Magic Water Cube' aquatic center, with more than a dozen water slides, wave pools and a river, among other activities.

The Summit, Houston

old stadium 4

In 1971, the San Diego Rockets basketball team moved to Houston, which led to the construction of a new stadium, The Summit. Almost 30 years later, when the Toyota Center was inaugurated in 2003, the Rockets abandoned their old site. The Lakewood church took advantage of this and spent $95 million on converting it into a 16,000-seat center of worship.

Highbury Stadium, London

old stadium 3

When Arsenal Football Club from North London moved to its new stadium in 2006, its old home was refurbished and turned into 650 homes, a project known as "Highbury Square". The North Bank and Clock End stands were demolished, but the outside of the Art Deco East stand and the West stand, also classified as a site of architectural interest, were maintained and integrated into the real estate project.

Lake Placid Olympic Village, New York

While not an stadium per se, the Lake Placid Olympic Village is an interesting example of looking outside of the box. Or is it inside? At the end of the closing ceremony of the 1980 Winter Games, the complex went from housing athletes to housing prisoners. It has been the Federal Correctional Institution for forty years. However, this second use was known from the start, since one of the conditions for Lake Placid obtaining public money to host the Olympic Games, was planning for a second use after the event. Only the Federal Bureau of Prisons put itself forward.

Bush Stadium, Indianapolis

old stadium 2

The Indianapolis Indians' baseball stadium from 1931 to 1996. Once it closed, it was converted, first, into a racing circuit called 16th Street Speedway, where car races were held. As this adventure was not altogether successful, between 2008 and 2011, the stadium continued to be related to automobiles, in this case it stored them as part of the "Cash for Clunkers" program, with the aim of trading in older and less fuel-efficient motor vehicles for newer and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Galatsi Olympic Hall, Athens

The site of table tennis and rhythmic gymnastics during the 2004 Olympic Games, in 2015 it was converted into a refugee camp for 500 people arriving from Syria and Afghanistan.

Tennispalatsi, Helsinki

old stadium 6

In preparation for the 1940 Olympic Games, which were originally going to be held in Tokyo, Finland designed this building for the tennis competition. However, with the start of World War II, the facility could not be used until 1952, when the city finally hosted the Games. Today, this infrastructure is a cultural center and home to Helsinki's Art Museum and the Museum of Cultures.

Photos | Wikipedia Commons, Wikipedia Commons, qizai00/ShutterStock, Tallmapple/ShutterStock, Wikipedia Commons, Ilari Nackel/ShutterStock

Related content

Recommended profiles for you

Remember to activate your profile to network!
Activate profile
Marco Mendoza
TRUEWORLD Organization
CEO and Cofounder of the company
Lucas Batista
Lucas Batista
BIMLab Brasil
4th Year, Student of Bachelors of Architecture
Frederik Boersma
Frederik Boersma
Lyn Chua
TechNarwhals Pte. Ltd.
Founding Technologist
Natalia Bruhl
Natalia Bruhl
Uriel Ramón Cardoza Sánchez
Uriel Ramón Cardoza Sánchez
Colegio de Arquitectos de Nicaragua COAN
Paul Redmond
SRO Solutions
Innovation Consultant
Eitan Grosbard
Eitan Grosbard
Tactile Mobility
Business Development VP
Technical university of Crete
I am an architecture student
Dani Naranjo
Dani Naranjo
La Salle Barcelona
Ofelia Baquero
Architect, Urban Planner, Consultant
Juraj Hostak
InnovEYtion Hub Manager; Innovation consultant and Smart City advisor
Park June Hyeop HYUP
Korea Land & Housing Corporation
John Villabona
Cámara Colombiana de la Construcción
Leader of Green Building and Education
Aparna Roy
Michael Mills
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Associate Assistant Deputy Minister, Acquisition Branch, COVID Team
Sabrina Zuniga Rossetti
Sabrina Zuniga Rossetti
Somos un equipo de investigadores urbanos con visiones multidisciplinares.
Alexandra Kapitány
Dashcoar Ltd.
Co-owner, Spatial analyst

Thank you for registering to Tomorrow.City. You can now start exploring all the content for free!
Only accessible for registered users
This content is available only for registered users
TO: $$toName$$
SUBJECT: Message from $$fromName$$