Build Up To The Cup

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 1 June, 8.30pm

South Africa is the powerhouse of the African continent and, right now, it is also the biggest building site in the world. As the country prepares to welcome millions of soccer fans for the 2010 World Cup, the host cities are catapulted into mayhem. Architects and engineers work against the clock to complete three magnificent stadiums. Soccer City in Johannesburg will be host the opening World Cup ceremonies and the final game. Design teams are briefed to create a unique space that represents South Africa�s cultural melting pot.

The result is an arena in the unusual shape of a giant African calabash (bottle gourd), but will one of the worst rainy seasons interfere with their plans? In Kwazulu Natal, the record breaking Moses Mabhida stadium will have the planet�s longest arch; a massive steel structure with a cable car attached to it. A similar design gave the builders of Wembley stadium endless headaches and resulted in a ten-month delay. Will the Moses Madhiba crew get it right? The Green Point stadium in Cape Town is set against the backdrop of the infamous Table Mountain. It may be visually breathtaking but for the designers and builders this is a location from hell. The Cape of Storms lives up to its reputation as building crews battle the elements to complete this unique sports arena complete with a 4500-ton glass roof.