Estádio Municipal de Braga

The Municipal Stadium of Braga (Portuguese: Estádio Municipal de Braga) is an all-seater football stadium located in Braga, Portugal, and the current home of Sporting Clube de Braga. It has a capacity of 30,286 spectators, making it the seventh largest football stadium in Portugal. The stadium was designed by Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura who was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in part for this design.

Municipal Stadium of Braga
A Pedreira
Full nameEstádio Municipal de Braga
LocationBraga, Portugal
Coordinates41°33′45.1″N 8°25′47.6″W / 41.562528°N 8.429889°W / 41.562528; -8.429889
OwnerCâmara Municipal de Braga
Field size105 m × 68 m (344 ft × 223 ft)
Built2003; 21 years ago (2003)
Opened30 December 2003; 20 years ago (2003-12-30)
Construction cost€108.1 million
ArchitectEduardo Souto de Moura
Structural engineerAFA Associates
General contractorACE
Main contractorsTensoteci, Soares da Costa, ASSOC, ACE, DMI, Rodrigues Gomes & Associados, AFA Associados, Cêgê, Gerisco, RWDI
Sporting Clube de Braga (2003–present)
Portugal national football team (selected matches)

Nicknamed A Pedreira (The Quarry), for being carved into the side of a hill at its south end, the stadium was built in 2003 as a venue for the UEFA Euro 2004.

History edit

An early sketch by Eduardo Souto de Moura for the Braga stadium
A view of the construction site in 2003
The construction site showing the two lateral stands

The project to build a stadium was developed in 2000 by architect Eduardo Souto Moura.[2] On 5 June, the program to build the new municipal stadium for the European championships in 2004 began, promoted by the municipal council of Braga.[2] Between 2002 and 2003, the municipal stadium was built.[2] The enormous rock moving process contributed heavily to the final €108.1 million cost,[3] the third most expensive of the ten new stadia built for Euro 2004, after Estádio da Luz (capacity: 64,642) and Estádio do Dragão (capacity: 50,033) in Porto, and beating Estádio José Alvalade (capacity: 50,095). A football game between Sporting Braga and Celta Vigo inaugurated the opening of the stadium on 30 December 2003.

The stadium became a UEFA-approved site to host the UEFA Europa League final, as well as participation in the elite competition for Europe's top clubs, the UEFA Champions League.[citation needed] During the UEFA European Championship in 2004, it was the site of various matches including: the 13th game, between Group C teams Bulgaria and Denmark (18 June 2004) and the 23rd match between Group D teams Netherlands and Latvia (22 June 2004).[2] This match marked the stadium's last event during the UEFA championship in 2004, even as in October of the same year, the public work along the Avenida do Estádio was concluded.[2]

On 27 January 2005, a dispatch was opened by the president of the IPPAR to classify the stadium as a national patrimony.[2] In the same year, Eduardo Souto Moura received the Secil Prize from Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio, for his work on the municipal stadium.[2] It was followed six years later by the Pritzker Prize. In 2006 the stadium won the Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award for the best new global design.[4] A Financial Times article on Britain's stadia referred to the municipal stadium as one of the four examples of "beautiful grounds", noting that: "There has been nothing in this country to match the architectural delight of Eduardo Souto de Moura’s stadium for Braga in Portugal, a breathtaking arena carved into the side of a rock face on the site of a former quarry."[5]

In July 2007, Sporting Braga announced a three-year sponsorship deal with French insurance company AXA, which included a promotional change to the name of the municipal stadium by the club. Following this agreement, promoters and team officials began to refer to the municipal stadium of Braga as the Estádio AXA (AXA Stadium).[6] However, the municipality (as landlord) clarified that the stadium had not been officially renamed, as this was a deal between its tenant and its partner.[7] On 23 October 2009, the process to classify the stadium ran out, under terms of article 78 (decree 309/2009), but was prorogued on 23 October.[2] As the principal tenant, Sporting Braga paid a monthly symbolic rent of €500 for the use of the stadium but by 2023 the municipality, the owner of the stadium which was built for a total cost of 200 million euros including concomitant infrastructure, had started a process of selling it for 15 million euros to the club or to one of the club's major shareholders.[8][9]

Architecture edit

The quarry face and lateral stands, showing the steel-string canopy
A view of the causeway and staircases servicing the stands and concession

The stadium is situated in an isolated, urban area on the north flank of Monte do Castro, in the sporting park of Dume.[2] The stadium was carved from the Monte do Castro quarry that overlooked Braga; stands were constructed on either side of the pitch, while one of the goal backdrops was carved from the rock walls of the quarry. The opposite goal backdrop is dominated by the city sprawl. Each stand is covered with a canopy-style roof and connected by dozens of steel strings, a design inspired by ancient South American Incan bridges. Movement between stands is accomplished through a 5,000 square metres (54,000 sq ft) plaza under the pitch.

Events edit

2004 European Championship
A view at the Municipal Stadium during the 2004 UEFA Netherlands-Latvia match

The stadium hosted two Euro 2004 group stage matches, Bulgaria vs. Denmark and Netherlands vs. Latvia.

Date Result Round
18 June 2004   Bulgaria 0–2   Denmark Group C
23 June 2004   Netherlands 3–0   Latvia Group D
Portugal National Team

The following national team matches were held in the stadium.

# Date Score Opponent Competition
1. 31 March 2004 1–2   Italy Friendly
2. 15 October 2008 0–0   Albania 2010 World Cup qualification
3. 11 September 2012 3–0   Azerbaijan 2014 World Cup qualification
4. 8 October 2015 1–0   Denmark Euro 2016 qualifying
5. 28 May 2018 2–2   Tunisia Friendly

References edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ "Estádio Municipal de Braga". SC Braga. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gonçalves, Joaquim; Basto, Sónia (2011), SIPA (ed.), Estádio Municipal de Braga (IPA.00022707/ PT010303100243) (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico, retrieved 2 March 2016
  3. ^ "Fact Check. Estádios de Leiria e Aveiro tiveram custo de 180 milhões para construção e custam 8 milhões a manter?". Observador (in Portuguese). 27 January 2023. Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  4. ^ 2006 International Architecture Awards for the Best New Global Design,, 2006, archived from the original on 8 October 2009, retrieved 30 December 2009
  5. ^ Kuper, Simon (11 May 2007), You've beaten them once. Now do it again..., Financial Times, retrieved 16 July 2010
  6. ^ "AXA dá nome ao Estádio Municipal de Braga (in Portuguese)" (Press release) (in Portuguese). Sporting Clube de Braga. 9 July 2006. Archived from the original on 3 July 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2007.
  7. ^ Martins, Carla Sofia (13 July 2007). "Local Porto: Oposição exige rentabilização do Estádio Municipal de Braga" (in Portuguese). Público. p. 4. Archived from the original on 9 June 2008. Retrieved 13 July 2007.
  8. ^ SAPO. "Autarca de Braga quer vender no seu mandato estádio municipal que custou 200 ME. SC Braga paga 500 euros de renda mensal". SAPO Desporto (in Portuguese). Retrieved 7 December 2023.
  9. ^ "CM de Braga coloca estádio do SC Braga à venda". Tribuna Expresso (in European Portuguese). Retrieved 7 December 2023.

Sources edit

  • Fernandes, José Manuel da Cruz (2009), Projectos do século 21 : reflexos da arquitectura portuguesa na década actual (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: CEFA/CIAUD
  • Moura, Eduardo Souto; Figueira, Jorge (2005), 2004 Estádio Municipal de Braga (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal{{citation}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)

External links edit