When Munich was selected to host the 1972 Olympic Games in 1966, it was obvious that a new stadium had to be built. Because the organisers wanted to counter the propaganda Games of 1936 a lightweight and open architecture was drawn up as a step towards the envisioned "Cheerful Games". However, the roof of the new construction had to be translucent for another reason – broadcasting via the new colour television system required a lot of light.
In the architectural tender launched by the City of Munich, the architects Behnisch & Partner were among those to submit a concept. Their novel idea: Munich should get a tent roof, inspired by the tent roof construction by architect Frei Otto for the German pavilion at the 1967 World Expo in Montreal. Their model was as unconventional as their plan - nylon stockings stretched over wooden sticks were to represent the roof. This particular construction might not have lasted long, but the idea behind it did.
What initially seemed too daring to the judges prevailed after a long selection process. In the end, the innovative tent roof structure and the beautifully integrated landscape architecture won the jury over. Steel cables and Plexiglas were used to create a roof surface of 88,000 square metres, spanning the main grandstand of the Olympiastadion, the Olympiahalle, the Olympic Swimming Pool and the pathways in between.
The result is a unique silhouette that has become an iconic feature of Munich's cityscape.