Jens Glüsing – Spiegel, 10/18/2012
Brazil is spending some 12 billion euros in preparation for the 2014 World Cup, when games will be played in a dozen stadiums. The most expensive of these is being built from scratch in Manaus, a city in the heart of the rainforest, where thunderstorms and water levels in the Rio Negro provide constant challenges.
Lightning flashes over the Rio Negro, and the air seems to crackle with static electricity. Burkhard Pick, a German architect, switches off his computer and pulls the plug out of the socket. If a bolt of lightning hits a power line, he’ll be lucky if he only ends up sitting in the dark. “Sometimes refrigerators, air conditioning units and computers burn out,” says Pick, 42. Few of the electrical sockets in Manaus, the capital of Brazil’s state of Amazonas, are grounded.
It’s shortly after 5 p.m., and another major thunderstorm is raging above the city. As always, the downpour stops the work at the construction site led by Burkhard Pick.
Pick is responsible for planning the Arena da Amazônia, the most exotic of the sporting venues at which the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be played. Together with the Brazilian construction company Andrade Gutierrez, the German architectural firm GMP is building a stadium for 42,500 spectators in the center of Manaus.