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Colours and complications
The new BBC sports arena in Switzerland features a colourful seating arrangement that was expertly engineered by audience systems to accommodate flexability in a complex venue
Audience Systems has installed a complete seating solution for a major new sporting arena in Switzerland. The 2,300 seat BBC Arena is the home of Kadetten Schaffhausen, a team in the top flight of Swiss handball. Theirs is now the only purpose-built handball facility in the country.
Audience Systems worked in partnership with Swiss sporting venue specialists Nüssli on the project. Bright, durable Alpha seats were provided on a mixture of concrete tiering and retractable platforms. The striking colours of the seats represent the team colours (yellow and orange), as well as those of the Swiss first league of handball (blue and black). Standing back, the seemingly random layout of seat colours resolves into a clever gradient from team colours to league colours.
All the retractable seating banks are ‘recessed’ – designed to fit beneath the tiers of seating on the building’s permanent concrete balconies. When closed, the seating platforms store neatly beneath the balconies – some even sitting behind the front edge to squeeze precious extra inches for the handball courts. On opening, the retractable banks automatically move forward on a special track to ensure a seamless transition between the fixed and retractable seating areas.
There were a myriad of tricky technical challenges. Firstly, the fascias at the front of each platform had to be designed to withstand ball impact when the banks are closed. A special strength material was used to achieve this. The arena is also fitted with a Pulastic sports floor, which the platforms are engineered to open and close across.
One recessed retractable bank of seats had to fit below a balcony, which was at two different heights. The eventual solution involved integrating wheelchair platforms to create a smooth transition between the balcony and the seating units, creating removable ‘half steps’ to allow certain rows to store under the lower sections of balcony, and adjusting individual fascia heights. Throughout the build, there were awkward interfaces with the building – the retractable units also had to be engineered to work around protruding railings for example.
The BBC Arena is part of a large complex with a hotel and sporting academy attached. The venue is designed to host tournaments and boasts eighteen changing rooms. The retractable seating will also give the venue the flexibility to play hosts to conferences, meetings and shows of all kinds.
Audience Systems will be exhibiting at Stadia Design & Technology Expo 2012, 8-10 May 2012. Visit the company at Booth 3050