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New Zealand Rugby World Cup stadium complete

Construction at New Zealand’s Forsyth Barr stadium in Dunedin has been completed on time and on budget, with a “unique” translucent plastic roof, ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

The world’s first permanently enclosed, natural turf stadium with its “space age” transparent roof will hold its inaugural game of rugby on 7 August.

The unique roof is made from ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a product originally developed for the space industry. This is the first time its UV translucent properties have been put to use in a stadium, creating the largest ETFE covered structure in the Southern Hemisphere.

“The unique permanent roof is clad in EFTE, a transparent polymer or plastic, which is light, enclosed and translucent, allowing maximum sunlight onto the pitch, so that the grass keeps growing but the fans are protected from the elements and the action goes on whatever the weather,” said Populous senior principal and project director Richard Breslin.

A team of turf experts, engineers and the stadium architects undertook rigorous studies over two years to
understand the effects of grass growth under ETFE all year round, and an ETFE test rig was built on site to
monitor grass growth both under the rig and outside it.

The stadium features 20,000 permanent and 11,000 temporary seats. International architecture firm Populous designed the innovative stadium in association with local firm Jasmax.

Forsyth Barr is one of three stadia Populous has designed for the Rugby World Cup. The others are New
Zealand’s main stadium Eden Park in Auckland, which will host the semi finals and final of the competition
and Westpac Stadium in Wellington which will host quarter finals.

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