To create Munich's just-opened Allianz Arena soccer stadium, Pritzker Prizewinning Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron relied upon nearly 2,900 diamond-shaped, translucent "cushions" of durable foil. During matches, the otherworldly façade—which looks more like a grounded spaceship than a playing field—glows in the colors of the home team. Up to 66,000 fans can cheer from three ultra-steep covered tiers—so close to the field, they can practically make eye contact with the kickers. Meanwhile, Herzog & de Meuron continue to be good sports: their Olympic stadium in Beijing is set to open in 2007. 25 Werner-Heisenberg-Allee; 49-89/20050; www.allianz-arena.de.
Located 15 minutes northeast of the city center, the Allianz Arena is home to Munich’s two major soccer teams, FC Bayern and TSV 1860. Host of the 2006 World Cup, the arena has a capacity of almost 70,000 and is the first stadium in the world to have a color-changing façade, which is illuminated with red, blue, or white lights depending on which team is playing. The stadium also contains three restaurants and two souvenir shops, including one dedicated entirely to Bayern merchandise. Daily guided tours provide access to normally off-limits areas, such as the players’ tunnel and locker rooms.