Handball – future arena

The Project

The Future Arena, venue for the handball and goalball events at Rio 2016, was the first “nomadic architecture” venue in the history of the Games. The concept was to create a venue that could not only be reused for future events, but also be utilized for other purposes and help leave a lasting legacy for the people of Rio. The fulfilment of this vision will see the Future Arena being converted into four new public schools for 2,000 young pupils in Rio, after the Paralympic Games.

A first for the Olympics, the venue will make use of an innovative technique called 'nomadic architecture', thus ensuring that even a temporary structure can leave a lasting legacy 


The Story

Local studios Oficina de Arquitetos and Lopes, Santos & Ferreira Gomes worked with UK firm AndArchitects to create the 12,000-seat Future Arena. It had been built in the Olympic Park in Barra de Tijuca and had been hosting events since 29th April 2016.  Post the Paralympics Games, the venue will be dismantled and rebuilt as four schools – three of them in Barra and Jararepagua, and one in São Cristovão close to Maracanã.

This 35,000 square meter “nomad” building could house 12,000 people and had been made of multiple prefabricated pieces. The box-shaped stadium was enveloped by rain-screens, which are made from horizontal wooden slats and punctured by letterbox-like openings. The main sections of the building will form the basic structural elements for the schools. The stairs, accessible ramps, rain-screens, steel elements and concrete circulation will be moved and reused for the schools. The frontage modular panels, the roofs and the floor were also designed with the future use in the schools in mind.

Goalball in the Future Arena at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

The Result

The Future Arena is the first-of-its-kind sport venue that will strive to prove that even temporary venues can be used to leave a lasting legacy after the Games. The dismantling and conversion into four public schools for 500 students each, will provide the 2,000 children a modern educational establishment for years to come, with a notably distinct architecture. The stadium and the schools had been designed simultaneously to ensure maximal reutilization of the materials and to have the best fit in terms of design for Games and post-Games use.

Legacy does not just happen; it needs to be created. The innovative solution of transforming the Future Arena into four schools required creativity and smart designing efforts, from the very start of the project

Tania Braga, Sustainability, Accessibility and Legacy Head, Rio 2016

As a ground-breaking innovation in Games venue and infrastructure, the Future Arena could potentially lead the path for similar architectural marvels in the future which will not only provide the setting for memorable events, but last long in the memory of natives of the host cities as tangible legacy.

AISTS Founders