The Stadio Giuseppe Meazza or the San Siro Stadium in Milan was originally designed by architect Stacchini and engineer Cugini in 1925 based on an Anglo-Saxon model. The structure was made up of four back straight bleachers, one of which was partially covered, and could contain up to 35,000 spectators. The stadium underwent several renovations, and in 1990 Ragazzi and Hoffer undertook the last renovation for the 1990 World Cup, covering the stadium with an innovative structural solution.
San Siro Stadium Technical Information
- Architects: Ulisse Stacchini, Alberto Cugini (Engineer)
- 1st Renovation Architects: Engineer Bertera and Architect Perlasca
- 2nd Renovation Architects: Ronca & Calzolari
- 1990 Renovation: Giancarlo Ragazzi, Henry Hoffer, Leo Finzi (Engineer)
- Typology: Sport & Leisure / Stadium
- Location: Milan, Italy
- Clubs: AC Milan and FC Internazionale
- First Opening: 1926
- Renovation Opening Year: 1990
- Building Capacity: 85.000 seats
- Photo Credits: Unknown, © D.Domenicali, © L.Macchiavelli
The structure of the terraces of the new third ring rests on eleven cylindrical towers in reinforced concrete. These towers also provide access to the stands and various services and are independent from the existing construction. Four of these towers also support the reticular girders of the roof.
– Giancarlo Ragazzi Architects
History of the Stadium
The construction of the San Siro stadium started in 1925 in Milan. The new stadium was originally named Nuovo Stadio Calcistico San Siro (San Siro New Football Stadium). The architects designed a private stadium only for football without the athletics tracks, which characterized Italian stadiums built with public funds. The opening was the 19th of September 1926. In March 1980, the stadium was named after Giuseppe Meazza (1910-1979), one of the most famous Milanese football players.
The stadium underwent further renovations for the 1990 World Cup. As part of the renovations, the stadium became all seated, with an extra tier being added on three sides of the stadium. This entailed the building with 11 concrete towers around the perimeter of the stadium. Four of these concrete towers were being located at the corners to support a new roof with distinctive protruding red girders.
Original Project by Alberto Cugini, Ulisse Stacchini
1st and 2nd Renovation Project Perlasca, Ronca & Calzolari
1990 Renovation Works by Giancarlo Ragazzi Architects and Henry Hoffer
Project description by Giancarlo Ragazzi Architects
In 1925/26, the Chairman of A.C. Milan Piero Pirelli promoted the construction of a football stadium and a horserace course next to it. The San Siro Stadium project, led by engineers Stacchini and Cugini, included four straight stands, with one partially covered, providing a total capacity of 35.000 spectators.
In 1935 the stadium, which had been bought by the City Council, was enlarged for the first time: four curved stands were added to the existing straight stands, creating a continuous ring. Furthermore, the two main stands were enlarged. The project was supervised by engineer Bertera and architect Perlasca and increased the total capacity to 55.000 spectators.
In 1954/55, a second enlargement, carried out by Ronca and Calzolari, transformed the structure radically with a second layer to the stands. The new stands were made up of a load-bearing structure external to the old construction and totally covering the existing stands.
The spiral stairways giving access to the new stands totally renewed the architectural image of the structure. The capacity rose to 100.000 spectators but later works reduced this to a maximum of about 80.000. This included standing places and places occupied in overcrowded conditions: the total seating capacity could be calculated at around 60.000 spectators.
For the occasion of the Soccer World Cup 1990, the Milan Municipal Administration decided to proceed with the refurbishment of San Siro Stadium after they turned down the idea of building a new stadium due to reasons of high costs and limited time available. Furthermore, the ‘Meazza’ stadium belongs to a sports and leisure complex, called ‘the city of sport,’ which has increased since 1887, the year in which the first horse racing course was established in Milan.
The motives and concepts behind the project, conceived by the City Council, can be summarised as follows:
- to offer greater comfort to the spectators;
- to guarantee the highest safety standards;
- a project that provides a multifunctional use of the stadium so that it fulfills the role of a social, cultural, and recreational center apart from hosting football matches;
- to ensure an architectural image which is coherent with the present structure;
The project, designed by Architects Giancarlo Ragazzi, Enrico Hoffer, and Engineer Leo Finzi, consists of constructing a third ring of stands, appearing as a continuous unit (but formed of totally independent structures) in contrast to the stands of the current existing second ring. As required for the World Cup 1990, the overall capacity was 86.000 spectators (all covered and with numbered seats).
The structure of the terraces of the new third ring rests on eleven cylindrical towers in reinforced concrete. These towers also provide access to the stands and various services and are independent of the existing construction. Four of these towers also support the reticular girders of the roof. Rectangular plates are attached to the load-bearing structure and support the roof made-up of curved shelters of polycarbonate. To give maximum comfort, all the seat places are new, numbered, and anatomically shaped. Furthermore, efficient catering facilities are provided for the spectators.
Along with the formal and functional extension of San Siro Stadium, the refurbishment of the field has also been planned, such as a new drainage and heating system, which has already been fully experimented within European stadiums.
Considering, finally, the technological installations with which the stadium has been equipped, the particular importance may be pointed out of the new floodlighting system for the pitch, allowing TV networks to broadcast the events with a high level of definition.
San Siro Stadium Plans
Video Overview of the Stadium