When did a “Flying Saucer” arrive in Katowice?

It happened in 1971. But, rather than landing, it grow from the ground a few years before earlier. It is in fact a sports and cultural arena, that is 45 years old this October 2016. It is also an iconic innovative architectural feature that dominates the northern edge of the central part of Katowice.

Spodek arena after facade renovation in 2011
Spodek arena after facade renovation in 2011

Spodek (meaning “saucer” in Polish) is a multipurpose arena complex in Katowice, Poland, opened in 1971 at ul. Korfantego 35 under the name Wojewódzka Hala Widowiskowo-Sportowa w Katowicach (Voivodeship Sport and Show Arena in Katowice), It was built on the site of former Zinc Smelters Huta Fanny  founded in 1822 and Huta Franz in 1818. There was also an iron works on the site.

Aerial view of Spodex taken from the Sky Bar at the top of the Altus building February 2016
Aerial view of Spedex taken from the Sky Bar at the top of the Altus building February 2016

The idea of building a large venue originated in 1955, while Katowice was temporarily renamed Stalinogród. A contest was held to select the best design. Initially, it was to be constructed on the outskirts of town, but the Voivodeship National Council decided it should be built near the city center.on a mining waste dump site classified “2A” was chosen for construction.

1883 map of Huta Fanny formerly on the site now at Spodex
1883 map of Huta Fanny formerly on the site now at Spodex

The classification “2A” indicated medium mining damage with a possibility of local cave-ins. While excavating the foundations, the workers dug through coal instead of soil. Soon after construction began, rumors of design flaws in the new building spread, including the rumour that the dome would collapse when the scaffolding was removed. Because of this, in 1964, construction was halted for 18 months. Spodek’s architects and chief engineers entered the dome when the supports were dismantled as a response to those rumours; clearly they survived. Before opening the building to the public, endurance tests were conducted – 3,500 soldiers marched into the hall and vibration of the building was measured. The outcome was positive.

1958-61 map before Spodex was built
1958-61 map before Spodex was built


Maciej Gintowt and Maciej Krasiński, 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.


Since then Spodek arena is of great events and entertainment. It’s Spodek starring, among others, Sting, Jean Michel Jarre, Chris Rea, Cliff Richard, Joe Cocker, Tina Turner, Brian Adams, Elton John, Vanessa Mae, Deep Purple, Metallica, The Cure, Genesis, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Black Sabbath, Saxon, Mike Oldfield , The Kelly Family, Rammstein, Iron Maiden, Robbie Williams, Depeche Mode, Korn, Slipknot. 34 years on stage Spodek guests Rawa Blues Festival, 29 years ago was here the first edition of the cult Metalmania, and 15 years ago Mayday – a festival of techno music.
























Text Sources:

Wikipedia, Spodex

Wikipedia, Huta Fanny

Wikipedia, Huta Franz

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