Olympic roof

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The Olympic roof (also popularly known as the Olympic tent roof or Olympic tent roof construction ) is a structure in the Munich Olympic Park that spans the Olympic swimming pool , the Olympic hall and parts of the Olympic stadium as well as the paths between the sports facilities. The 72,800 square meter roof landscape was built for the 1972 Olympic Games . It consists of rope nets that are suspended from pylons up to 80 meters high and clad with acrylic glass panels. Numerous architects and civil engineers were involved in the implementation of the construction , including architects from Behnisch & Partner as well as Frei Otto , Fritz Leonhardt , Wolfhardt Andrä and Jörg Schlaich . The architecture gained international recognition, is counted among the landmarks of Munich and is a listed building .

The Olympic roof


In the Olympic Park, the Olympic roof covers the Olympic hall, the Olympic swimming pool and parts of the stadium, which together form the heart of the Munich Olympic facilities, as well as the paths in between. The south side of the roof borders Coubertinplatz , the center of the Olympic complex. The Olympiasee is on the other side of Coubertinplatz.


For the design of the site of the Olympic Games, an architectural competition was announced in February 1967, for which a total of 104 designs had been submitted by the deadline on July 3, 1967. One of these models came from the architectural office Behnisch & Partner . In their 1: 1000 scale model, Günter Behnisch and his employee Fritz Auer added a tent roof structure to the stadium, the Olympic Hall and, based on an idea from employee Cord Wehrse, who had become aware of Frei Otto's tent roof construction at the world exhibition in Montreal through a newspaper article the swimminghall. The idea was added to the model using wooden sticks and parts of a nylon ladies sock. Finally, the model was submitted by the deadline and on October 13, 1967 it was announced that Behnisch's supplemented model had won. Under his direction, a sun sail was made for the Federal Horticultural Show in Dortmund in 1969 , which served as a prototype of a self-supporting roof structure. It was the model for the Olympic roof and is still in the Westfalenpark today .

Frei Otto, who presented a similar small version of the tent roof on a pavilion that was the model for the Olympic tent roof, was brought in by Behnisch as a partner architect for the construction of the Olympic stadium. In addition to Behnisch and Otto, an architecture team was formed with Fritz Leonhardt and Wolfhardt Andrä, among others, to realize the roof structure. Fritz Auer took over the planning management of the construction. The roof over the stadium was completed on April 21, 1972 under the direction of the civil engineer Jörg Schlaich .

It was difficult to calculate costs because Otto had previously only realized a comparable, but much smaller tent roof construction. The Olympia-Baugesellschaft originally calculated that the entire Olympic roof would cost between 40 and 45 million German marks, or between 30 and 35 million German marks for an alternative partial implementation. Behnisch assumed costs between 15 and 18 million marks for a point-supported suspended roof and partial realization. For a realization with an east roof, he reckoned with expenses between 18 and 19 million marks. Ultimately, the costs multiplied to 170.6 million marks, although the east roof was not built.

In the 1990s there were discussions about modernizing the Olympic Stadium, which would also have had an impact on the Olympic roof. So it was considered to dismantle the tent roof in Munich and re-erect it over the Berlin Olympic Stadium . The tent roof was renovated by 2002 because the original acrylic glass roof panels from 1972 had taken on a milky color. The discoloration was caused by the oxidation of the iron components in the acrylic glass, which had been added for fire protection. They have been replaced by a new plastic-glass mixture without iron components.



The Olympic roof is a point-supported or pre-tensioned cable network construction . It was originally assembled from a one-dimensional element made of ropes and clamps to form a two-dimensional structure . The rope net consists of knots that are 75 centimeters apart. They were braided on the ground and then pulled up. The tent roof spans the west stand of the Olympic Stadium, the Olympic Hall, the Olympic Swimming Pool and the paths in between in the Olympic Park. The construction is a total of 74,800 square meters and has a circumference of 3.3 kilometers. The blue-gray acrylic sheets are attached to the construction. It is supported by 58 steel masts and girders, which consist of twelve large, conically shaped pylons that are up to 80 meters high.


For the most part, the Olympic roof spans the main stand on the west side of the stadium. Two of the four floodlight batteries are attached to the edge of the roof . There are also six smaller light sources to illuminate the stadium. About 34,550 square meters of the roof, almost half of the entire construction, lie above the arena. Since supports on the stands had to be avoided in order to ensure the view of the spectators, two large masts at a height of 70 meters and six smaller masts were erected to support the air supports due to the large area . Conventional anchors had to be used for the low points behind the grandstand, while 440 meters of round ropes had to be stretched over the west grandstand because the masts could not be accommodated in the playing field. These ropes were stretched over the roof structure and, on the opposite side, anchored to the ground with concrete blocks weighing 4000 tons, some up to 30 meters deep.


The tent roof extends over 21,750 square meters of the Olympic Hall. The roof has a main structure supported by four girders at the nodes. The two inner girders each begin on a 70-meter-high guyed mast with a junction outside the hall. In addition, the hall has two outer main trusses. A lighting stage is attached to them inside the hall. Two side trusses between the side and outer fields each contain two supports and a low point anchored in the hall.

Swimming pool

With a roof surface of 11,750 square meters, the swimming pool is the smallest of the sports facilities covered by the Olympic roof. The roof surface is freely shaped. The height of the roof was determined among other things by the ten meter high diving platform in the hall. The roof's main network of 9,400 square meters is coupled with a 2,500 square meter network. A ring rope is attached under the main net, on which the forces of the roof act. They are guyed down by radial ropes.

Intermediate paths

Stadium - hall

There are 5,800 square meters of the Olympic roof between the sports hall and the swimming pool. It consists of three networks that are connected to the stadium and hall roof sections. The roof also spans parts of a pedestrian bridge that runs across the Mittlerer Ring north of the two sports facilities.

Hall - swimming pool

At 800 square meters, the tent roof section between the sports hall and the swimming pool is the smallest section and consists of a single cable network. The surface is freely shaped.

example Pictures


The transparent, seemingly floating roof was supposed to provide “transparency and lightness” and was therefore an essential part of the “cheerful games” concept. In addition, the tent roof, which connects different sports facilities, should be a symbol for the motto of the games of "short distances". Today it is a landmark of Munich and, as part of the Olympiapark ensemble, is a listed building.

During the 1972 Olympic Games, David Binder, editor of the New York Times , praised the roof as "the most striking structural symbol of the Games" with "graceful indentations and bold curves offering the most exciting perspectives in the Olympic Park". He also enthused that on the opening day “the roof glistened like fish scales in the bright sunshine”. Alfred Dürr, author of the Süddeutsche Zeitung , said in 2013 that the Olympic roof made the Munich Olympic site “the most beautiful and attractive in the world”, and went on to say that “even decades after the games […] the term of the architecture of the century is no exaggeration ”. He said that the architecture of the site “belongs to the best” “what architects have ever created”.

In 2015, shortly after his death, Frei Otto was awarded the Pritzker Prize , the highest honor for an architect. The jury stated that Otto was an architect who, among other things, was the "creator of memorable buildings and rooms". The American architect Michael Meredith added that Otto rethought “structures based on his basic teachings”. Otto's work had an incredible influence on “a younger generation of architects interested in exploring natural principles rather than idealized geometric shapes”.

The tent roof, which is often seen as part of the stadium, is considered to be its most striking feature and was considered a "static and visual sensation" when it was built. Even four decades later, journalists still believe that the construction “looks very modern and way ahead of its time”. Two years after the opening, however, the disadvantages of the tent roof construction were pointed out, namely that the architecture made it difficult for the atmosphere in the Olympic Stadium to germinate. This was one of the reasons why FC Bayern and TSV 1860 moved out of the Olympic Stadium, built the Allianz Arena and moved in there.

The Olympic roof was already considered pioneering architecture at the time of construction, as it solved the problem of roofing large areas with lightweight surface structures . During the construction of the roof, Nordic port cities were already looking into the question of how to keep their ports operational in winter. In other countries, the construction served as a model for the roofing of extensive cultural parks, amusement and recreation areas. The building also served other architects as inspiration for their buildings: the roof of the König-Fahd Stadium in Riyadh is said to be modeled on the Olympic roof . In addition, a draft for a new headquarters of the company Google in Mountain View was presented in 2015 . The building, designed by architects Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick , will have a tent roof, which, according to Urs Humpenöder, author of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , was possibly inspired by the Olympic roof .


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Web links

Commons : Olympiadach München  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

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  27. a b c d e Leonhardt, p. 13
  28. ^ Leonhardt, p. 13
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  31. ^ Radtke, p. 23
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  34. Big Talk at Munich Is the Big Cost of Big Roof . In: New York Times, September 3, 1972, p. 2
  35. ^ Munich - City of the Arts , p. 349
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Coordinates: 48 ° 10 ′ 19.9 ″  N , 11 ° 32 ′ 48.3 ″  E