PERI World Youth Day

World Youth Day: We’re supporting one of the world's biggest events with efficient scaffolding solutions

Every day, we deal with challenging projects in areas such as infrastructure, industry and the refurbishment of historical buildings. But sometimes our expertise is needed for unique projects that go beyond our usual ones. The World Youth Day is one of them, where an architecturally sophisticated stage construction had to be realised. Two women who made a significant contribution and responded flexibly to challenges of this complex special project are Beatriz Noya, Project Engineer, and Carla Graça, Project Technician. In this article, they’ll reveal the key aspects of events at this scale and give us exciting behind-the-scenes insights into the World Youth Day.

Beatriz and Carla know what is important when it comes to formwork and scaffolding for various projects. Realising a major event, however, is something special. So, when it came to supporting one of the biggest events in the world, the World Youth Day, they bravely took on the challenge. This spectacular happening, which takes place every two to four years, brings together millions of people from all over the world to meet the Pope. In 2023, this special day took place in Lisbon.

In order to successfully organise such a huge event, you don’t just need the right solutions, but also expertise in 3D planning and logistics as well as a good sense of project and time management – all the skills Beatriz and Carla already had. "After Madrid in 2011, this is the second time we have helped build the stage for the World Youth Day," says Carla proudly. "As we already had experience with one of the biggest international events, we were able to implement our plans quickly and secure the required 200 tonnes of material. This allowed us to show our client early on how efficiently and reliably we work – and that was the decisive factor in the end."

PERI World Youth Day

The location – always in focus

Every project has its own requirements. When building huge stages, the location plays a crucial role. How much space is available? Is the ground surface even? Are there any obstacles on site that need to be considered or rebuilt? These questions are important in order to take all circumstances into account.

The stage for World Youth Day was located in Parque Eduardo VII, not far from the centre of Lisbon. The task for our Iberian team was mainly to develop scaffolding solutions for the stage and main grandstand. A special feature was the towers of different heights, that stood out monumentally and gave the stage a design framework. However, they also presented a challenge: their size. With a height of 26 metres and a width of 40 metres, the towers were as big as an Olympic swimming pool – and had to be scaffolded and cladded accordingly. Elements of the PERI UP Scaffolding Kit were used as well as 4,000 metres of VT 20 Alpha formwork girder and 2,000 square metres of three-layer plywood panels to fulfil the requirements of the stage design.

"Another obstacle was the monument in memory of the Carnation Revolution of 1974," says Beatriz. "It also had to be considered in the planning, so it was enclosed in the rear scaffolding structure. By distributing the loads around the statue, it was not only protected during the construction work, but during the whole event."

PERI World Youth Day

Standing up to the weather

In addition to the location, weather conditions like rain, snow and strong winds are also an important factor in the construction of outdoor stages. The latter in particular caused a bead or two of sweat at the World Youth Day 2023.

"As the park is located on a hill, winds are not uncommon there," explains Carla. "However, you have to take them into account when planning." The tower construction was particularly affected. Counterweights were used to prevent the towers from tipping over. Structural calculations showed that around 115 tonnes in the form of concrete blocks and water tanks were needed to ensure sufficient stability. These were attached to the base of the towers using our SRU steel walers and anchor rods.

"The biggest challenge, however, was to transfer the loads of the scaffolding around the monument without damaging or touching it," says Beatriz. But here, too, the team came up with a solution: They designed a special bridging solution.

PERI World Youth Day

3D planning – for dealing with the complexity of every stage construction

Once the conditions on site have been clarified, the next step is to understand the client and develop solutions that take into account the logistics and schedule as well as the material requirements. The Iberian team around Beatriz and Carla usually present 3D sketches in initial discussions with the client, which are based on the architect's ideas and recognise potential challenges.

3D planning was also of great importance at the World Youth Day. Not only did it immediately convince the client of the team's expertise, but it also provided the planning and installation team with valuable insights during construction. Thanks to our flexible PERI UP scaffolding system, the sketches showed how the complex towers were to be erected, which materials were required and how the historic monument could be properly protected. The 3D models also illustrated safety measures such as the numerous passages and access points for the artists and visitors.

PERI World Youth Day

Punctual delivery, flawless logistics

During the construction of large projects, one aspect is extremely important: can all materials be delivered and assembled on time? Delivery, transport and logistics are all interlinked and must work together smoothly. Otherwise, a project can’t be completed on time. This applies in particular to events that are tied to a specific date.

Since the total material quantity of 200 tonnes was enormous and the schedule of three months was ambitious for the complexity of the stage ensemble, the team had to source some of the material for the World Youth Day from other PERI branches in different countries. "However, as we are well networked, we were able to organise this quickly. In a very short time, almost 60 trucks gradually arrived to deliver the material," says Carla.

PERI World Youth Day

Teamwork: the key to success

Time and project management combined with the flexibility of the system contributed to the successful completion of the project so that World Youth Day could take place as planned. One thing was of particular value: teamwork. Both the open communication with the client and the planning and installation team as well as the internal exchange and fast coordination with the PERI branches led to all goals being achieved within the tight schedule. "A big part of our success was undoubtedly the fact that we supported the scaffolders every day and with every unforeseen challenge," says Beatriz. "With a guest as important as the Pope, there were sometimes minor adjustments. For example, some ramps and a special relaxation room had to be planned. Thanks to our dedicated team, we were flexible enough to master even these last-minute requirements."

This commitment did not go unnoticed by the client. "We were very satisfied with PERI. They were fully committed with fantastic availability and attitude. Without the exceptional performance of the entire team, we would not have been able to realise this project," reports Miguel Sarmento, volunteer engineer and logistics manager. The trust that the client placed in PERI Iberia was ultimately the key to a successful collaboration.

We are on site for you worldwide

Our support knows no borders - no matter where you are in the world. Simply select the website for your country and discover detailed information about our products, projects and contact details for our local contacts. We are always happy to assist you and look forward to helping you too.