The Dragon Stadium is an essential piece in the urban plan of the Antas district in Porto designed by Architect Manuel Salgado, and suites to a new concept of sporting, entertainment, recreational and commercial equipment. It is not only a sport venue used periodically for football games but also an equipment of daily use capable of attracting a wide range of population and supplying a great diversity of activities in the very best conditions. The stadium is a multipurpose building with a clinic, a health club, a bingo hall, offices and commerce.
The stadium has a capacity for 50.948 spectators in a 34.000 m2 area of covered tiers and with 1.177 parking spaces. During its construction, that took 2 years, were employed 89.055 m3 volume of concrete, 11.745 tonnes of reinforcing steel, 9.749 tonnes of high strength steel, 9.600 m of concrete piles, 106.400 m2 of precast slabs and 34.900 m of precast concrete terrace units.
The stadium is a building with 6 floors above the Square level and 4 underground floors. The concrete structures of the stadium are essentially constituted by 84 main radial frames that are connected among them by horizontal circumferential beams, at the pavement level, contributing equally to the pavements support. The terrace units that form the tiers are in precast concrete. These elements are supported by raker beams integrated into radial frames The floor structure consists of a concrete two-way slab integrating a precast and prestressed slab of reduced thickness upon which was cast a complementary concrete layer to complete the final 24 cm slab. The stadium is divided into 12 independent structures separated by expansion joints.
The steep morphology of the stadium location area compelled an enormous excavation volume (1.350.000 m3), most of it in rock, at both North and West Stands location, while in the East and South Stands area, it was necessary to create landfill platforms. In a significant part of the stadium the rock strength allowed footing, but at the East and South Stands location, the poor rock mass characteristics obligate the execution of piles, some of them reaching 20m long.
The construction of large sports venues is always a complex task whose success depends very much on the design and construction decisions taken in the preliminary phases of the structural design. In the present case of the Dragon Stadium, we used structural systems that were optimised bearing in mind the vast number of repetitions. This allowed us to think of solutions that, in other cases, would not be feasible.
The Dragon Stadium was intensively used immediately after its inauguration and with a very high occupation of the stands. The performed observations and the installed monitoring proved the excellent behaviour of the adopted solutions.