If You’re Afraid of Heights but Going to the World Cup, Don’t Sit Here

YEKATERINBURG, Russia — Droplets of rain gathered on the dark blue suit jacket of Leonid Rapoport, the sports minister of the Sverdlovsk region, as he stood in the auxiliary seating stands at Tsentralnyi Stadium amid a light drizzle Wednesday afternoon.

“Fans do not care if there is a roof or not,” he said in Russian, and smiled.

World Cup tickets are notoriously hard to come by, but even people lucky enough to secure seats at a game could find themselves, in some sense, on the outside looking in.

In the run-up to the tournament, architects here were tasked with temporarily increasing the seating capacity of the arena, originally built in 1957, while keeping its historical walls intact. The eventual solution represented a bit of outside-the-bowl thinking: the construction of two additional stands that protrude from openings on either end of the stadium, uncovered by the roof, like enormous drawers pulled from a cabinet.

The unusual design has evoked a range of reactions well before the opening match. Critics called it an eyesore, a slapdash solution bordering on the absurd. Defenders hailed it as a paragon of practicality and preservation and the sort of sensible, sustainable construction too rarely seen at major international sporting events. Fans and soccer officials alike, meanwhile, just wanted to know

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/13/sports/world-cup/world-cup-stadium-russia.html

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