The Orlando Soccer Stadium

Most people will remember this stadium for its friendly atmosphere during its semi and final games of the 2010 World Super 14 rugby.  The Bulls won and Soweto hosted a historical happening.



The original Orlando Stadium, which was built in the late 1950’s became a legacy in the history of South-Africa.  It was originally planned for athletics and soccer but was also used for musical festivals, social and political gatherings.


For the All Africa Games in 1999 a new main pavilion was built on the West side for additional seating, extra accommodation and new change room facilities.  The existing steel seating structures were temporarily upgraded but, unfortunately, had a short life span.


After the All Africa Games, the city of Johannesburg started to budget for a new stadium to replace the historical Orlando Stadium.



It was coincidence that the new stadium was completed 9 months before the 2010 World Cup in South-Africa. It was designed to FIFA standards for 40 000 spectators.  The historical athletics track is still to be relocated to another site as a dedicated venue.


The new stadium is now orientated correctly to North.  It is designed to accommodate soccer, rugby, musical festivals as well as social and political gatherings.



Orlando Stadium is well positioned on the East side of the railway line that links the main station in Johannesburg with suburbs such as Orlando, Klipspruit, Chaiwelo and others.  It is situated within walking distance between the two stations, Mlamlankunzi and Orlando.  The stadium is situated between four major routes, namely Soweto Highway, Klipspruit Valley, Martha Louw and Mooki Streets.  On the South side there is a community centre and there are several schools to the North side.  A new bus station was designed and completed in Mooki Street, opposite the main entrance of the stadium.



The main challenge was to design a stadium for 40 000 spectators to FIFA standards, within a limited budget of ± R250 million.  With great effort and teamwork the final building cost was within this budget, with a cost of ± R6 250 per seat.


In the Orlando Stadium design the pedestrian circulation patterns are well organized and clearly identified.  Spectators are able to orientate themselves easily and with clear signage, it is easy to find your seat.  The total stadium can be evacuated within 8 minutes.


Spectators approach the stadium from the East on Level 2 (ground level) arriving by train, bus, taxi or car.  All access control gates and ticket booths are located on this side of the stadium.  A pedestrian concourse on Level 2 runs around on the outside of the stadium and links the four spiral shaped ramps on the four ‘corners’ of the stadium for vertical circulation to Levels 3 and 4.  Level 2 concourse gives direct access to the lower level seating.  Level 3 accommodates all suites, VIP Lounge, conference rooms, season tickets and business class facilities.  Level 4 concourse gives access to the upper level seating.  Both pedestrian concourses accommodate toilets and kiosks serving the spectators.


Due to the slope of the site, it was possible to have two extra floor levels, namely Levels 0 and 1, on the West side. The playing field is on Level 0.


It was a challenge to fit the VIP vehicles and bus circulation in on the sloped space remaining on the West side of the stadium.


The players’ main entrance, change rooms and related facilities are located on Level 0, with direct access to the playing field.


Technical supporting facilities, ambulances and a police station are also located on this level.


Electronic display boards are located on the North-East and South-West corners of the stadium on Level 3.


Provision is made for disabled people, with access to all levels.  Demarcated wheel chair parking spaces are provided with a fixed chair next to it for a companion.



Similar to the original Stadium, the new Orlando Stadium is built on a sloped ash dump.  The foundation condition on the West side is poor, but there is solid rock on the East side. Piling and concrete ground beams were inevitable on the West side.  To avoid cut and fill of the rock substrate, alternative studies were done with the positioning of the stadium.  To save cost and extra excavation in rock, the sloped seating on the East is just above the untouched sloped rock substrate.


To stay within the budget, it was decided to opt for pre-cast concrete raked beams with maximum repetition, which were cast one on top of the other on site to save on shuttering, transport costs and time.   These raked beams were lifted by crane and placed directly into the correct position for fixing.  Columns were cast insitu, while the concrete seating ‘planks’ were pre-cast in factory conditions and transported to site.


The starting point for economic stadium design, is to get the planning of the four corners right for the maximum repetition of structural elements, such as pre-cast raking beams and the steel roof structure.  One typical steel roof truss was repeated for the total stadium, while various lengths in purlins took up the curves.



s          VVIP (Mayoral suite)

VVIP are dropped by car at the separate VIP entrance on Level 0 on the West side of stadium.  A lift and staircase goes up to Mayoral suite on Level 0.  Mayoral Balcony and seating are to the centre of the stadium on the West side.



s          VIP

The VIP’s use the same VVIP entrance on Level 0, and both use the lift and staircase to reach the VIP

suite on Level 1 with seating above the Mayoral suite.


s          Management

Separate entrance on Level 0, with access to the Manager’s Offices via lift and staircase.


s          Commentators / Security / Stadium Manager / Announcers

They all use the same Managers entrance on Level 0 with a lift and staircase up to Level 5.  Skyboxes are in the centre on the West side.


s          Press

Separate press tables and seating are provided in the centre of the West side with entrances on

Level 4.


s          Players

Players are dropped off by bus on Level 0, at the West side of the stadium in front of the Players entrance which is on the centre line of the playing field.


s          Suites

All suites are located on Level 3.  Separate controlled entrances to suites are located on the 4 corners of the stadium, with an elevator up from the parking garage.


s          Spectators

Spectators can only enter the stadium from the East, on concourse Level 2.  Further access is via the ramps to Levels 3 and 4 with access to suites and upper level seating.




Only one main vehicle entrance is provided on the South side of the stadium form Martha Louw Street.  This gives access to the basement parking on Level 1, VVIP, VIP, players, vehicles on playing field, busses, media trucks, media, commentators and stadium manager.


A separate entrance for emergency vehicles on Level 0 is provided on the North side of the stadium, linking to Mooki Street.  This can also be used as an emergency exit for the other vehicles on Levels 0 and 1.


Open parking for the above vehicles is located on the North-West side of the stadium and terraced parking on the West.


s          Spectator busses

Parking for spectator busses is planned to be to the West side between the railway line, Klipspruit Valley and Martha Louw Streets.  A pedestrian bridge to link these areas across the railway line is also planned to be constructed on the North-West side of the stadium that links with the pedestrian boulevard close to the North boundary.

s          Spectator motor vehicles

A curved pedestrian boulevard further links the East entrance piazza with a motor vehicle parking lot on the South side of Martha Louw Street.


s          Taxis

Taxis drop off areas are provided in Mooki Street close to the access control gates.


s          Bus station

A bus station has been built in Mooki Street, close to the access control gates.



A colourful feature will be added as soon as funds become available.  The mast will be flood lit, on the inside with different coloured electrical lights to represent the colours of the teams that will be playing. The sound of vuvuzelas, the brightly coloured masts and tasty food from the kiosks ought to create a festive atmosphere whenever a game is played.  A legacy that ought to bless many spectators and visitors to the stadium.




1. Client City of Jo’burg


2. Architects (Design) WMS Architects
3. Architects (Schedules) Afro Architectural
4. Project Managers Hoboyi & Associates
5. Design Manager Platinum Sports Consulting
6. Structural Engineers Platinum Sports Consulting
7. Quantity Surveyors Letchmaih Daya Mandindi
8. Civil Engineering Services Neyeleti Consulting
9. Traffic Engineering Services Neyeleti Consulting
10. Electrical Security, Communication, Mechanical


Lesedi Consulting Engineers
11. Electrical Flood lighting Platinum Sports Consulting
12. Town Planners Karen Burger and Associates
13. Landscape / Environmental Blue Print Landscape Architects
14. Rational Fire Design TWC Engineers
15. Contractor Grinaker LTA Building, Inland

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