von Gerkan, Marg and Partners commissioned for conversion and refurbishment of Ludwigspark Stadium

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Architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (GMP), working as part of a design consortium with Stuttgart consulting engineers schlaich bergermann and partners, have been commissioned for the conversion and refurbishment of Ludwigspark Stadium in Saarbrücken, Germany. The start of construction has been scheduled for the spring of 2016, with project completion targeted for the summer of 2017.

Compared to other stadium projects carried out by the architectural practice (which is headquartered in Hamburg), the project is smaller and has a restricted, publicly funded budget. However, this presents a design challenge that is as interesting as it is demanding. In contrast to the new construction of large international sports venues, the task in Saarbrücken is to strengthen the local identity of the stadium.

Ludwigspark Stadium was constructed in 1953 as a soccer and track and field venue. The stadium is located to the northwest of Saarbrücken on the Ludwigsberg and is primarily used by 1st FC Saarbrücken, a club playing in the Süd-West regional league. The appearance of the stadium is dominated by the covered stand known as Victor’s Grandstand, which was built in 1976. The plan is to upgrade the stadium – which is showing signs of age – in readiness for future soccer events.

In order to comply with the requirements for a modern second league soccer stadium – in accordance with German Football League (DFL) standards – GMP have honed the existing stadium elements, dividing them into four sectors. The main circulation level will be constructed to a height of 25ft, as a result of the existing topography of the stadium terrain. Three of the four grandstands will be redesigned, optimizing sight lines and moving them to 28-33ft from the edge of the pitch. This helps to create the atmosphere typical of soccer matches, creating intensive interaction between fans and players.

The new construction of the grandstand to the south is of particular importance to the modernization concept, integrating the stadium’s main functions with team, VIP, business and press facilities.

In order to strengthen the local identity of the venue, the floodlight masts – which, particularly at night are visible from afar and highlight the stadium within its wooded surroundings – and Victor’s Grandstand to the north of the stadium remain iconic landmarks. The dominant impression given by these features is balanced by the conspicuous white membrane roofs, a unifying feature of the new grandstand buildings. These textile elements of the individual buildings form a visual ensemble, and the grandstands leave the stadium corners open affording spectators inside the stadium views into the wooded surroundings.

Design: Volkwin Marg and Christian Hoffmann with Christoph Salentin

Project leader: Christoph Salentin

Team: Michael König, Johanna Heyden, Lukasz Rubnikowicz

Structural engineer: schlaich bergermann und partner

Client: Gebäudemanagement Saarbrücken

Images courtesy of: GMP

December 17, 2015

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