Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, formerly Akwa Ibom Stadium, with a façade made of PLEXIGLAS®

© Julius Berger International GmbH

Façade design: White by day, luminous by night

The façade is the face of a building. PLEXIGLAS® Satinice provides a distinctive character to the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Nigeria.

Façade design plays an important role in architecture. Especially for large buildings, which can serve as the architectonic landmark of a city, the façade is one of the most important aspects in the design process. In addition to looking good in the long run, the façade material must offer versatile design options and meet static and safety requirements. For this reason, using high-quality material is crucial.

Map of Africa; the red dot indicates the location of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.

Godswill Akpabio International Stadium

The stadium is located in Uyo, the state capital of the Nigerian state of Akwa Ibo. It is the home stadium of the Nigerian national soccer team as well as of the club Akwa United, which plays in the Nigeria Professional Football League. It was completed in 2014 and has a capacity of 30,000 spectators. In 2015, the Akwa Ibom International Stadium was renamed Godswill Akpabio International Stadium after the former State Governor.

© Shutterstock/AridOcean

One of the most modern stadiums in Africa

Completed in 2014, the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria, is equipped with natural grass, state-of-the-art floodlights, security cameras, and a bulletproof VIP area. The highlight of the stadium is its façade. It was designed in the style of the Allianz Arena in Munich – with the difference that the façade of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium appears much more delicate.

The façade consists of 17,500 square meters of PLEXIGLAS® Satinice WH10 DC with a thickness of 15 millimeters. Satined on both sides, the white-colored PLEXIGLAS® lets light through but is not completely transparent. “PLEXIGLAS® Satinice ensures an exclusive and matte façade which is evenly white and translucent throughout the entire surface – it goes without saying that this wouldn’t be possible with a façade made of stone,” says Matthias Schäfer, expert and sector manager for “Visual Communication & Lighting” at Evonik. The result looks most stunning by night, when the steel frame underneath the façade shines through Evonik’s brand acrylic glass even more than by day. During the day, the velvety surface prevents extreme reflections of the sun.

Like a huge white mosaic

The sheets for the façade were produced by thyssenkrupp Plastics Austria. A total of 6,900 sheets sized 1,400 mm x 3,800 mm and 1,400 mm x 3,000 mm were cut into triangles and holes milled into the acrylic glass. Mounted to the building, the façade sheets create a diamond pattern which makes the whole surface appear like a huge white mosaic.

Resistant to sun radiation

The white color does not fade or turn yellow over the years, as the chemical structure of PLEXIGLAS® makes it permanently resistant to UV rays. This is certainly something to be reckoned with in an equatorial country like Nigeria. The intensity of the sun is very high throughout the entire year – and the temperature varies considerably during the day. “These climatic conditions are highly challenging for any material,” says Lucas Köhler, who managed the project for the general planner Julius Berger International. PLEXIGLAS®, for example, expands in a different way than the substructure when exposed to heat. “All mountings of the façade components had to be aligned to this fact,” explains Köhler.

Lighter than glass

PLEXIGLAS® combines design with functionality.

Lucas Köhler
Julius Berger International

However, looks aren’t the only important factor when it comes to façade claddings. The general planner Julius Berger International and the client from Nigeria also opted to use PLEXIGLAS® because it is much lighter than glass. In addition, Evonik’s brand acrylic glass has excellent processing characteristics and meets highest safety standards. PLEXIGLAS® burns virtually without smoke, doesn’t produce toxic fumes and can be extinguished easily with water. “The requirements for façade elements are very high,” says Köhler. “PLEXIGLAS® combines design with functionality.”