This week commemorates the opening game on the 10th of June of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in the FNB Soccer City stadium in Nasrec, Johannesburg, South Africa.

The stadium hosted the opening ceremony and the first match between South Africa and Mexico and has continued to be an iconic landmark in Johannesburg hosting not only key soccer matches in the local and international soccer calendar but also rock concerts for legendary acts such Bruce Springsteen, U2 Rihanna, ColdPlay and Ed Shereen. Further, as a national symbolic landmark, it was the site of Nelson Mandela's first speech in Johannesburg after his release from prison in 1990 and served as the venue for a memorial service to him on 10 December 2013. It was also the site of Chris Hani's funeral.Boogertman + Partners is proud to be the architects of the upgrade to this stadium known as the ‘Calabash’ due to its curved façade and structure of graded ramparts that enhance the experience of the audience as they enter the event bowl to participate in the spectacle they have chosen to attend. The upgrade included: an extended upper-tier around the stadium to increase the capacity to 88,958 an additional 2 executive suites, an encircling roof, new changing room facilities and new floodlights. The number of suites in the stadium was increased to 195.

Bob van Bebber, project lead and Director at Boogertman + Partners, highlights two key personal moments of this project

The heartwrenching moment when the roof went on the Soccer City stadium in preparation for the opening game of the FIFA World Cup 2010. “The crawler crane lifted the last truss and it didn’t fit which resulted in a panicked phone call to the engineer in Germany… what temperature is it he asked? No problem wait until it is 3 degrees cooler, 3 degrees later it fitted”

What did it feel like being in the crowd for the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup when South African Siphiwe Tshabalala scored the first goal of the tournament, “At that stage the design of the stadium is irrelevant, there was pandemonium, unadulterated excitement and chaos. It was an unbelievable moment, the chance for South Africa to score the first goal was fantastic”

Bob van Bebber in an interview with News Room Africa talks to some of the key challenges of designing Soccer City. (We apologise for some of the poor sound quality yet felt that the story merited publishing the video in full)

Click here to view more videos and details of the project