World’s Largest Mosaic Made of ETFE Film
Located in the Mexican Altiplano region, the newly renovated Estadio Cuauhtémoc stadium is around 40 metres high. Its extravagant facade, comprising more than 30,000 square metres of film, was extruded from the high-performance 3M Dyneon Fluoroplastic ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene). Thanks to this film’s low weight per unit area, the structure uses 1,500 tonnes less steel than does a comparable glass facade. The stadium was completely modernised in 2014 and 2015, and Dünn Lightweight Architecture fitted it with the first ETFE facade in Mexico.
The facade’s gracefully swept shape conveys a sense of lightness, while its mosaic look adopts pre-Columbian design elements. It consists of 124 vertical segments rising around 40 metres into the sky. A total of 5,952 ETFE film sections in three colours were welded together to form the segments. The blue and white team colours and the transparent sections are visible by day, and LED lights illuminate the films in different colours at night. An important advantage in view of the damp, humid climate is the fact that 3M Dyneon ETFE film dispenses with plasticisers, which evaporate over time and could thus allow algae or mould to grow. ETFE films are so smooth that rain showers can do most of the façade cleaning work, and they are so resistant to other chemical compounds that they can withstand even decades of exposure to environmental influences such as exhaust emissions.
Parts of the Puebla-based stadium’s facade originally consisted of glass panes in various colours. A key advantage offered by the ETFE facade is its around 95 % lower weight per unit area, which allowed structural engineers to design a much more delicate supporting structure. A total of 1,000 tonnes of steel suffices for the ETFE facade compared to the 2,500 tonnes needed for a glass structure, amounting to a saving of 60 %.