The legendary arena with a 60-year history, Luzhniki Stadium is going to serve the venue for the opening match, one of the semi-finals and the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
It took FIFA about 6-8 months to approve the Luzhniki Stadium reconstruction plan. There were a few ways to go: some offered to demolish the arena and built a completely new one in its place (as a more budget-friendly plan), others opted for preserving the historic frontages of the original building and modifying only the insides of the building. The second option was finally approved, which is hardly a surprise – Luzhniki is not just a stadium, it is a historic, architectural and sports symbol of Moscow and the whole country. So, the main goal of Luzhniki reconstruction is to construct a modern stadium complying with FIFA standards and to keep the famous look of the historic point of interest.
460 Tons of Protection
The actual work on the stadium reconstruction started in 2014. After all non-bearing parts were dismantled, there remained just walls, the canopy, bearings and some tribune elements – to maintain the stability of the stadium.
It is then when the improvements started. According to FIFA requirements, stadiums should protect viewers from precipitation and sunlight. The former stadium canopy, which was first added to the building at the end of the 90ies on the account of UEFA Cup final match, was not long enough. So, it was increased in length by 11 meters at the finishing stage of the new roof installation in March 2015. The total weight of metal framework brought from Chelyabinsk (where it was manufactured by a local plant) to Moscow is 460 tons. To compare, the largest tip-truck in the world – BelAz-75710 – is 100 tons lighter.
The old roof, sized 230,000 sqm, got a corrosion-resistant coating and is to be covered with shock-proof semitransparent polycarbonate, which provides a robust protection, come rain or shine. By the way, the same material protects two side tribunes of the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.
The most interesting feature is to be found in the “heart” of Luzhniki Stadium – on the football field. It was rebuilt in summer 2016 and features natural grass, which requires special care, but markedly improves the quality of the game.
The stadium is equipped with drainage, heating, and watering systems, while agrotechnical conditions are being constantly monitored and controlled through automation and dispatch centers. Aeration drainage allows to dry out the field just in 20-30 minutes. The drainage system works 24/7 and is fullu automatized.
Marat Husnullin explains: “A football pitch is not just a field planted with grass. It is a multilayered “pie.” To maintain the quality of the grass we should always be able to air the subsoil, dewater or water it depending on weather conditions.”
The heating system will also be of help: it will increase the temperature of the pitch surface and ground, so that the playing characteristics will stay the same even in winter – the temperature of the “pie” cannot get less than 10-15 degrees Celsius.
The subsoil has been fastened with the help of artificial fibers embedded at the depth of at least 18 cm according to SIS GRASS technology. It will ensure that pieces of soil won’t be pulled out of the lawn by the players’ running during the game.
Another new feature is the cutting-edge goal-line technology: several cameras installed in the gates will keep track of the game to capture every single moment and alert the referee on the special bracelet whether the ball has crossed the goal line. It will also allow to quickly repeat any important moments of the game.
Three Thousand New Seats
The status of Luzhniki as the largest stadium in the country will be re-established with the number of seats increased by 3000, which will make a total of 81 000 seats including 300 seats for people with disabilities, 1700 VIP seats and 2000 press seats.
Previously, about 10% of seats were considered to be low visibility ones. After stadium reconstruction, all spectators will get a nice view of the pitch. The geometry of the tribunes has been improved. First of all, they are now much closer to the pitch thanks to removing the athletic tracks. Secondly, the tribunes will be located in two tiers at a steep angle, with 100 skyboxes in between (the corporate VIP loges where hot meals will be served). The ferroconcrete construction of each tier will consist of 6000 elements.
LED Screen and HD Wi-Fi
Modern technologies will make the football matched at Luzhniki even more spectacular. Light-emitting diodes built in the stadium roof will create a huge screen to display videos, game score, participants’ flags and what not. With the top of the line picture quality, the screen will be best observed from the Vorobyovy Hills. A similar roof has been constructed for the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Olympic Park, Sochi: during the Olympic Games 2014 the display panel showed the flags of the teams and game score in real time.
First, a test display was installed on the roof to check whether the LEDs and fixtures will stand the changeable Moscow weather. According to Murat Achmadiev, the materials used for fixtures and the intervals between LEDs exclude any chance of inflammation or shot circuit.
Besides, fans will be able to download a mobile application and watch repetitions and check the match data in real time on the screens of their smartphone – all of this thanks to HD Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi capacity has been planned based on the best world practices, in accordance with which 20-30% of visitors are using Wi-Fi at a sports venue. Thus, Wi-Fi will be available to a maximum of 30 000 users at Luzhniki.
Safety Above All
Murat Achmadiev reports that the stadium will be divided into several zones including public zones, press and welcome zones, VIP, transport and technical zones. By the beginning of the World Championship 2018 there will be two 2-storey security screening buildings with a lobby, a screening rooms, ticket rooms and service rooms. Their fronts will be faced with large rock slabs and glazed with stained glass to look in line with the historic architecture of the stadium.
The major security principle here is the same as was already used din Sochi, during the Olympic Games 2014. It focuses on the security of whole territory of the venue, rather than on the security of certain objects. Thus, the so-called “clean zone” will be surrounded by the security perimeter where all client groups will be screened bringing security threats inside the “clean zone” to the minimum.
Besides, the number of main exits will be increased from 13 to 16, which together with the emergency exits makes a total of 22 exits. Fan flows will be managed more effectively, so that people will be able to leave the building within 15 minutes after the end of the match. Such an improvement was made possible thanks to a unique system of cascade staircases covering the inner perimeter of the stadium like a net.
Luzhniki Revamp in Figures:
- Total reconstructed area including the spectator stalls – 221 000 sqm;
- A workforce of 2100 constructors и 29 units of construction machinery;
- 1000 surveillance cameras;
- 30 000 simultaneous Wi-Fi users;
- 4000 parking slots;
- 5,4 km of sewage pipes, 76,5 km of telecommunication cables and 57 km of heating network;
- Stadium canopy extended by 11 meters;
- Number of exits increased from 13 to 22.