Retractable roof

The Mayor of Verona in northern Italy, Flavio Tosi, has announced that the city’s Roman amphitheatre is to sport a retractable roof to protect both opera goers and the building from inclement weather. The project, expected to cost 13.5 million euros, will see a retractable roof added to the ancient building which was built in the 1st century AD to host athletic games, hunting and gladiator contests. It survived an earthquake that struck the city in 1117.

Two well-known German companies – the architecture firm Gerkan, Marg & Partners and the engineering firm Schlaich Bergermann & Partner – were the winners of a competition to design the retractable roof.  Their proposal was selected from nearly 90 put forward by firms from across the globe. Schlaich Bergermann previously installed a retractable roof at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt, Germany, in the run-up to the 2006 FIFA World Cup competition.

The well-preserved Verona amphitheatre hosts concerts and operas every summer, with up to 15,000 spectators attending. However, several events have had to be cut short each summer due to heavy rain, which also affects the structure of the building.

The proposed roof, which will take the form of an extendable membrane, will fold up into a space on top of the arena and will be virtually invisible from the ground. If approved by the cultural ministry in Rome, the new roof should be ready for use in about three years.

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