This article explains the roof structure at Wembley Stadium—one of the most iconic sports venues in the UK.
With a partially retractable design to aid pitch growth, the roof provides additional light and air while sheltering spectators.
Does Wembley Have a Roof?
Wembley Stadium has a partially retractable roof that covers the central pitch area but does not completely enclose the entire stadium.
The roof sits 52 meters above the pitch and can be closed for concerts and events, providing some protection from the rain.
However, it is not a full roof that would make Wembley an indoor venue.
Parts of the stands and field remain open to the outdoors.
- Wembley has a partial, retractable roof over the central pitch
- The roof sits 52 meters above the field
- It provides some rain coverage but does not fully enclose the stadium
In my expert opinion, while Wembley Stadium has an iconic partial roof, it should not be considered a fully enclosed or indoor arena.
The retractable roof only covers the central pitch area and provides some protection from the elements.
However, it does not completely close off Wembley as an indoor venue.
Fans should be prepared for typical outdoor stadium conditions when attending events there.
Interesting Facts About the Wembley Stadium Roof
Yes, Wembley Stadium has a partially retractable roof that sits 52 metres above the pitch. The roof is designed to allow maximum sunlight onto the playing surface to aid grass growth. However, it does not completely close or cover the entire stadium.
The purpose of the roof is to provide additional light and air onto the pitch to help maintain it. Despite not being fully retractable, it can slide open in two sections along the north and south ends. This allows sunlight to reach all areas of the pitch.
When closed, the roof shelters the majority of spectators from the elements during events. It covers seating areas on the eastern and western sides, as well as partial sections on the southern side. However, it cannot be opened or closed while visitors are in the stadium.
Wembley’s partially retractable roof structure is similar to other modern stadiums like Johan Cruyff Arena, Stadion Narodowy, and Veltins Arena. The design reflects the belief that sunlight exposure helps create excellent pitch conditions in covered stadiums.
The Unique Partially Retractable Roof Design
Wembley’s partially retractable roof showcases an engineering feat. Two sections can slide open along the north and south ends of the stadium. This allows sunlight and rainfall to reach the pitch as needed.
The roof structure consists of a single arch that spans 315 metres across the stadium’s width. Made from steel, the arch supports the northern and southern roof sections. Each section weighs over 2000 tonnes yet can still slide smoothly along the arch.
When designing the roof, engineers faced a dilemma. They needed to balance letting in sunlight while also sheltering spectators. The solution was a partially retractable design never built before on this scale.
Now, Wembley’s roof provides the best of both worlds. Sunlight for grass growth when open, and shelter for spectators when closed. The design reflects modern stadium engineering focused on pitch quality and visitor comfort.
How The Roof Opens and Closes
Wembley’s retractable roof relies on an intricate system to slide open and closed. Engineers integrated mechanical, hydraulic and computer controls seamlessly to enable smooth operation.
To open the roof, motors activate to slowly move the northern and southern sections along the arch. Hydraulic jacks on bogies below the roof sections gently guide the movement. The entire process takes around 10 minutes to complete.
Computers carefully coordinate the bogies during opening and closing. Sensors continuously monitor factors like wind speed and pitch conditions. If winds exceed safety limits, the roof will not open.
When closing, the roof sections slide back along the arch and meet in the middle. Motors and hydraulics work in reverse to gently bring the sections together. Careful monitoring prevents the sections from colliding.
Altogether, over 700 bogies with electronic controls support the roof. Yet the technology remains hidden, allowing the sections to seem like they float effortlessly along the arch.
The coordination of mechanical, hydraulic and computer systems enables Wembley’s roof to open and close smoothly. This technological symphony makes the partially retractable design possible.
Benefits of The Roof for Fans and Players
Wembley’s sliding roof provides important benefits for both fans and players.
For fans, the roof ensures more events can go ahead regardless of the weather. Rain or shine, the stands stay dry so the audience can enjoy the action.
The roof also focuses crowd noise back onto the pitch. The enclosed stadium design means cheering and chanting reverberates around the bowl, creating an electric atmosphere.
For players, the roof provides shelter from the elements. Without exposure to wind and rain, they can focus purely on performance.
The pitch itself also benefits. The roof protects the grass from getting waterlogged during rainy matches. This results in higher-quality playing surfaces.
When needed, the roof can open to prevent overheating. Motors and hydraulics work in harmony to slide the sections apart in minutes.
Ultimately, the retractable roof improves the experience for both fans and players. Protection from the elements and focused acoustics allow Wembley to deliver iconic events rain or shine.
Does Wembley have a roof for concerts?
Yes, Wembley Stadium has a partially retractable roof that can be used to cover the pitch during concerts.
Does Wembley have a full roof?
No, Wembley Stadium does not have a full roof that covers the entire stadium. It has a partially retractable roof that only covers the central pitch area.
Is Wembley Stadium covered for rain?
The retractable roof at Wembley Stadium does provide some coverage from rain, but it does not completely enclose the stadium. There is still potential for rain to fall in areas not covered by the partial roof.
Has Wembley Stadium got a closed roof?
No, Wembley Stadium does not have a fully closed roof. The partially retractable roof only covers the central pitch area and cannot completely enclose the stadium.
In summary, Wembley Stadium has a signature partially retractable roof that sits 52 meters above the pitch and can cover the central playing area for concerts and events. However, it is not a complete roof that fully encloses the stadium, so some parts remain open to the elements. The roof provides some rain coverage but does not make Wembley an indoor arena.