Gdansk Arena 04.2007
Gdansk Arena 09.2011
Gdansk - or in some languages Dantzig, for centuries a free city under the protection of Polish Crown, is until today an important Baltic harbor and one of the main cities in Poland. It is in shipyards of Gdansk, that the Solidarity movement was born, while its leader Lech Wa³êsa - a citizen of Gdansk, became democratic Poland's first freely elected president after the WWII.
PGE Gdansk Arena - a new stadium of interesting architecture presently under construction, will be one of the venues of the upcoming 2012 UEFA European Football Championship.
Previously called Baltic Arena, the stadium changed its name as a result of the sponsoring deal. The letters PGE come from the stadium's main sponsor, Polish Group of Energy, the largest company of this sort in Poland and one of the biggest in Central Europe, producing and supplying electric energy everywhere in Poland and abroad.
The stadium is located directly at the shore of the Gdansk Bay, as a result of restructuring plans for the city of Gdansk, which aim at
better connecting the metropolis with Baltic Sea. To build the stadium on the areas which previously suffered from floods, massive ground works had to be done.
The stadium's location has been also chosen because of the good communication links with the airport and the newly built districts of Gdansk.
The stadium has been designed by a German architecture and building firm of reputation RKW (Rhode Kellermann Wawrowsky) Architektur + Städtebau (established in 1950), with its headquarters in Düsseldorf, but having several offices in Germany, Poland (Warsaw) and overseas. The firm is known for several projects in Düsseldorf area, as well as elsewhere in Germany, and in China (with projects like Shanghai new centre). From recently completed constructions by RKW, we should mention the shopping centre in Pforzheim and an impressive ISS Dome in North of Düsseldorf, both in Germany.
The Gdansk project, proposes a large, flat shape elongated construction in color of amber, fossilized tree resin, which is the symbol of the area and can be still found on its beaches. Exclusively a football stadium will be 236 by 203 meters wide and 45 meters high and it will be build on 33,9 ha of land. When completed in 2011, the PGE Arena will have and 36 thousands square meters of surface with 44 thousands seats. Its construction will cost approx. $222 million.
The stadium is meant to be the home of Lechia Gdansk, football club, which since 1949 belongs to the top of the Polish top league - Ekstraklasa. Lechia is a mythic name for Poland, created from name of the legendary founder of Poland - Lech, today one of most popular Polish names, also the first name of Lech Wa³êsa.
The club had its crisis in the mid-1990-ties, when it was degraded to the III league, but quickly returned to the II league, won it in 2008 and is now back in the Ekstraklasa. Lechia Gdansk fans in large numbers made ranks of the Solidarity movement of 1980-ties, which had its beginnings in nearby Gdansk Shipyards. During the upcoming Euro 2012 soccer championship, three elimination stage matches and one quarter-final will be played at the PGE Gdansk Arena.