Spodek in Katowice
Spodek is a multipurpose arena complex in Katowice, opened in 1971 at 35 Korfanty Street under the name Voivodeship Sport and Show Arena in Katowice, under which it is known in the Polish technical/architectural literature, and under which it formally functioned until 1997. Aside from the main dome, the complex includes a gym, an ice rink, a hotel and three large car parks. It is the largest indoor venue of its kind in Poland. It hosts many important cultural and business events. Music concerts are especially common non-sport events. Spodek can hold 11,500 people, although this number is in practice limited to 10,000 or even 8,000 due to stage set-ups obscuring the view.
Its name is “flying saucer” in Polish as it resembles a tilted flying saucer. Spodek is a major contribution to the cultural significance of Katowice in Poland, especially for the younger generations. It has also been used as an unofficial logo for the city on posters promoting redevelopment in Katowice. It has played host to many up-and-coming bands, such as Chumbawumba in 1997, as well as dozens of world-famous bands. Maciej Gintowt and Maciej Krasinski, architects of Spodek, designed the Spodek as one of the first major structures to employ the principle of tensegrity. The roof uses an inclined surface held in check by a system of cables holding up its circumference. The structural engineer who conceived the unique tensegrity roof and made it work is Waclaw Zalewski. His innovative structures include Supersam, a supermarket in Warsaw with a roof made up of alternating arches and cables, many unique industrial roofs in Poland, two basketball arenas in Venezuela with hanging roofs, the structure of the National Museum of Art in Caracas, the Venezuelan Pavilion at the Seville’s Expo in 1992, and several bridges and roofs in South Korea. Throughout Spodek’s history, rumors have circulated concerning the extent of disrepair at the structure, concealed cracks or even its “falling apart”. However, these rumours are unsupported by any evidence.
Address: 35 Korfanty Street