As time goes on, the design of a stadium becomes about more than just a single-use sporting venue.
Investing such significant capital in a stadium development to use it for just a few hours every other week does not make economic sense.
Engineers are constantly thinking of the new and innovative ways that they can maximise use and, therefore, revenue.
Keeping the experience
The challenge is to create these multi-use venues, whilst ensuring that such flexibility doesn’t diminish any experience.
The UK and the rest of the world is experiencing a large and growing demand for live performance events, be it concert or comedy, as well as sporting events such as tennis or football.
Each event demands a unique set of conditions of its venue, from crowd size to acoustic performance and we need to make sure our stadia can match up to such requirements.
“New and refurbished venues are expected to be technologically advanced and create a fully immersive experience for all”
Today, new and refurbished venues are expected to be technologically advanced and create a fully immersive experience for all spectators, sportsmen and performers.
Users want to be able to experience the event as intimately as possible, and easily reflect it through social media.
Creative ways of using light and sound to add to the drama and experience, are fundamental to modern arena design. This coupled with an arena’s connectivity, both physical and virtual, lay the critical foundations for optimal stadium design.
These tangible effects that define the experience will always need the support of the unseen functions such as catering, servicing, access, fire safety and transport. Often functions that are taken for granted which are what ultimately contribute to the smooth running of a stadium event.
Quick and efficient
Engineers are at the forefront of the technology input and adaptability of sporting venues and support in providing the basic functions that they need to operate.
At WSP, we are currently developing a number of ways to enable new and existing venues to have opportunity to convert even more quickly from one use to another.
We are in the midst of patent application for a mechanism in which a football stadium can quickly convert to concert arena.
Our structure teams are working with present stadium operators to cover existing stadia with roofs that can be deployed or retracted depending on what event is to take place beneath them.
As the challenges and requirements grow ever more sophisticated, innovation becomes more and more important. It is an increasingly more exciting time to be an engineer in the future of stadia.
Peter Chipchase is UK head of stadia design at WSP