The Ontwikkelingsbedrijf Rotterdam (Rotterdam City Development Corporation, or OBR) invited four parties to develop a plan for a multifunctional covered stadium in Rotterdam.
The list of specifications was both complex and summary. The stadium had to be suitable for use by the Sparta and Excelsior football clubs, both of which needed new accommodation at that time. Football matches required place for 11,000 spectators. The other planned activities, such as top-level sports, events and pop concerts, demand half this number of seats at most. The design teams were asked to make suggestions for other complementary activities and for a possible location for the stadium.
In association with the client, HBM, they developed a building with a clear-cut layout and a grass pitch that could be shifted outside. Within half a day, the stadium can be adapted for a different function, such as top-level sport, cultural or business activities. The circulation has been designed so that all the different users can easily find their way through the building. The restaurants and other spaces for ancillary functions are strategically located alongside the circulation space. The public enters via a broad and spacious U-shaped promenade, with a view across the entire hall and to the outside. It is easy for visitors to find their orientation and they have access to the stands from the promenade. The stands are organized in two stacked layers along the length of the hall, one beneath and one above the promenade.
The load-bearing structure consists of tripod-like columns with space-frame spans hung in-between, which are harnessed by tension ropes. The columns also support the fixed sections of the stands. One part of the roof construction above the pitch is built with a coated and reinforced translucent plastic membrane. Activities that take place during the day are illuminated by natural daylight. The plastic membrane is stretched between a series of space-frame truss girders, which are interconnected lengthwise by a footbridge. This means that the space-frame girders are also easily accessible and can be used to hang up attributes for various performances or activities.
The design was made without a specific location in mind, but the bureau had a strong preference for Rotterdam’s MÃ¼llerpier, close to the Euromast, as a site for the stadium.