Stadiums are emotional structures, and are an important part of our social fabric. Within the last fifty years the advent of mass global video communications has changed the stadium from a local venue enjoyed by a few thousand people, to a world-wide stage seen by millions. They can be both objects of pride and beauty reflecting the considerable aesthetic skills of the designers, while providing cultural focal points for communities, cities and nations. Within these structures the hopes and dreams of those competing or watching are either realised or dashed on a regular basis. Major stadium projects have often become architectural emblems reflecting the national and international importance of cities and countries. They aspire to attract not only sport fans, but also tourists from home and abroad. Charismatic buildings like the “Bird’s Nest”, the Olympic stadium in Beijing, or the new Wembley Stadium in London are recent and outstanding examples of this trend that started in the 1990s. The function of stadiums has also evolved from being solely a sporting venue to a popular and versatile location for concerts, operas and other mass events.
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