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Bleak before-and-after photos reveal soccer stadium's questionable transformation: 'Why did they clear cut every tree?'

"Certainly prefer the before."

“Certainly prefer the before."

Photo Credit: iStock

The renovation of Estádio Mineirão, the large soccer stadium in Belo Horizante, Brazil, included some nice environmentally friendly aspects, including a $16.1 million solar roof. 

However, the overall visual effect of the stadium's transformation left something to be desired, according to the members of the r/UrbanHell subreddit.

Posted to the forum with the "Absurd Architecture" tag, before and after photos of the renovation ahead of the 2014 World Cup elicited strong reactions from the members of the subreddit.

Photo Credit: Reddit
Photo Credit: Reddit

One poster came right out and asked the question that was surely on everybody's mind when they looked at the photos, writing, "why did they clear cut every tree?"

Indeed, for reasons that are not entirely clear, it seems that the redesign involved removing every bit of plant life from the immediate vicinity of the stadium, giving it the distinct and not particularly pleasant appearance of something out of Star Wars. A 2023 Google Maps satellite image shows this remains the case.

"Got that imperial star destroyer makeover," wrote another commenter.

"I love a good heat island," chimed in another.

It's not all bad news for Estádio Mineirão, as the stadium's rooftop solar array — comprising 6,000 photovoltaic panels circling the roof — reportedly distributes clean energy to the surrounding homes. The renovation also included planet-friendly components like reusing rainwater and efficient lighting systems.

Still, it may have been preferable if the architects could have accomplished all of this without removing quite so many trees.

"Trees can play a huge role in the health of people living in cities" by improving air quality and lowering heat, NPR wrote. This is especially important as global temperatures continue to rise as a result of human-caused pollution.

Also, trees just look nice, whereas big slabs of concrete do not look nice, even if they happen to be in the shape of a spaceship.

"Certainly prefer the before," wrote another commenter.

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