What’s better than a multi-national sporting event in a gorgeous place? A multi-national sporting event in a stadium that’s powered by the sun; that’s what!
On July 17, 2009, Taiwan kicked off an 11-day sporting event at the new Main Stadium, which holds a whopping 40,000 people. The games include more than 3,200 athletes from 90 countries. The 31 competitions are made up of artistic and dance sports, martial arts, precision sports, trend sports and strength sports. Some of the sports date back to ancient Greece and Rome, including: boules, fistball, and tug of war. Others, such as martial arts and dragon boat racing, fall back on Asian traditions. According to CNN, athletes to keep your eye on include “top-ranked climber Patxi Usobiaga Lakunza of Spain, Bahamian bodybuilder Paul Wilson, German bowler Achim Grabowski and Ironman champion Shannon Eckstein who will lead the Australian team in lifesaving, a sport demanding speed and skills in the ocean and pool.”
Main Stadium, a brand new start-of-the-art venue, is Taiwan’s premier sports arena. It’s — simply said — an architectural masterpiece. Nicolai Ouroussoff from the New York Times Architecture Review mentions the stadium “is shaped by a sensitivity to those conflicting sensations. It is not only magnetic architecture, it is also a remarkably humane environment, something you rarely find in a structure of this size.” The stadium was designed by Toyo Ito — “one of the world’s most innovative and influential architects” -Designboom. He focuses on delicately balancing urbanity with nature, and pushes the architectural envelope on each and every project.
Not only is the Main Stadium visually appealing, it’s eco-friendly and brings nature and technology together as one. The stadium is surrounded by a new public park, furnished with palm trees and tropical plants. Additionally, the venue is situated in a way where it’s easily accessible from public transportation and helps eliminate the carbon footprint of visitors. Most importantly, it’s powered by 8,844 solar panels! Yes, you heard that right, 8,844 solar panels! This impressive array generates 1.14 million kilo watt hours of electricity per year. Since most of this energy is not used, the stadium has the ability to sell surplus energy in the off-season.
I wish, oh how I wish, venues in the United States would jump on the solar bandwagon. I mean, cummon’ now! It’s time! Massive stadiums like Dodger Stadium, The Staples Center, Yankee Stadium, etc. can and will help their communities by installing solar panels, waterless urinals, greenery, and other eco-friendly features. My fingers are crossed.