The Deutsches Stadion was a monumental stadium designed by Albert Speer for the Nazi party rally grounds in Nuremberg, southern Germany. Its construction began in September 1937, and was slated for completion in 1943. Like most other Nazi monumental structures, however, its construction was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II and never finished.
According to Speer himself, it was inspired not by the Circus Maximus in Rome but by the Panathenaic Stadium of Athens, which had impressed him greatly when he had visited it in 1935. Speer's stadium was a gigantic inflation of its Greco-Roman model, from which he borrowed the horseshoe configuration and the propylaeum, now transformed into a raised, pillared, temple-like structure attached to the open end of the stadium by an internally pillared courtyard. Since the stadium was not set like the Panathenaic Stadium structure at the bottom of a gully, but on a flat area of land , its five tiers of seats for 405,000 spectators had to be supported in the usual Roman manner by massive barrel vaults. The external façade of pink granite blocks, which would have risen to a height of about 90 metres , consisted of a series of arches 65 metres high resting on a podium of dark red granite. The arcade and podium again suggests a Roman, not a Greek, circus or stadium, which did not traditionally rest on a substructure. In order to deliver such a vast number of spectators to their seats quickly, express lifts were to be installed to take spectators 100 at a time to seats on the top three tiers. The short transverse axis of the stadium culminated at each of its ends in a raised Ehrentribüne for the Führer, special guests and the press. Once more, Roman practice provided the architectural precedent.
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