The World’s Most Beautiful Sports Arenas

We don’t often have sports on the brain here at Flavorpill, but with March Madness raging and The New Yorker recently running Elif Batuman’s fascinating exploration of Turkish soccer fans, we’ve been thinking about them more than usual. Specifically, we’ve been wondering why most of the places we go to watch sporting events have to be so freaking ugly — especially here in the U.S., where the past few decades have seen many arenas trade architectural ambitions for branding opportunities. But, after doing some digging, we’ve realized that the world is full of beautiful sports structures, many of which were created to house either the Olympics or the world’s most popular sport, soccer. Check out ten of our favorites after the jump, and tell us what we missed in the comments.


Yoyogi National Gymnasium
Tokyo, Japan

Designed by award-winning Japanese structuralist architect Kenzo Tange, the Yoyogi National Gymnasium was completed in 1964 and hosted the Olympic Games that summer. The facility seats over 13,000 and has been used for everything from swimming to hockey to last year’s World Judo Championships. We love the clean lines, the dramatic upward slope, the checkerboard concrete out front, and the way the building seems to emerge organically from its well-landscaped environment.