The first safe standing system with integrated seating in the USA has been unveiled at the newly opened Banc of California Stadium – home to MLS side Los Angeles FC.
The setup located at the venue’s North End employs safety railing combined with folding seats, which provides supporters a ‘best of both’ choice during matches, with the intention to create a more energetic, unified atmosphere.
Designed by Minnesota-based Trex Commercial Products, who supply architectural railings for commercial applications, the job was no mean feat with nearly two years of research going into the project to deliver the trend-setting seating section.
Design workshops with club owners and supporters, as well as analysis of other projects around the world, resulted in a rail seating system located in the steepest pitch stand in MLS (34°) that uses a facia-mounted metal railing frame angled back for comfort and increasing headroom for those seated.
“Seeing the seating rail system installed for the first time at the stadium really put into perspective the slope of the section and the need for this one-of-a-kind custom system,” said John Lewis, president and CEO of Trex Commercial Products. “Supporters will feel like they are right on top of the action.”
As part of 4,200ft of railing installed at the stadium’s North End section, the design features tip-up seats with a slim profile to offer as much standing room as possible, as well as allowing for easier access in an emergency to provide greater crowd control and fan safety.
The 22,000-seat Banc of California Stadium hosted its inaugural match in April 2018 when Los Angeles’s second MLS top-tier soccer side, LAFC, hosted the Seattle Sounders. Influenced by European soccer stadia, the venue features stands that are as close to the field as possible and loom over the action to create a more intimate and electric atmosphere.
Its safe standing section, where supporters stand shoulder-to-shoulder again, is an updated approach to the design of the old terrace sections that were once found in soccer grounds. Now, safe standing is a commonly found feature in new stadia builds, and even older venues are looking for ways to transform their seating in favor of a ‘real’ seating system.
“The vision for this project was to create an unrivalled in-stadium environment and sporting culture for the devoted supporters of the LAFC,” explained Lewis. “With that in mind, we were inspired to think beyond safety and to re-imagine the safe standing concept in a completely new way that elevates the fan experience.”
June 27, 2018