The original Galgenwaard Stadium, the home of FC Utrecht, was built at the current location in 1981. In 1998 the management concluded that the stadium no longer fulfilled modern requirements for a football stadium. It was simply too small and the standard of services for the public was too low.
A new plan was made to improve the operation of the stadium, to be executed in phases. Expansion of existing stands increases the number of seats from 11,000 to 24,000. All seating will be sheltered under a new canopy. The commercial buildings on the four sides of the stadium will be demolished and replaced with about 30,000 square metres of commercial space which is integrated in the new complex.
The stadium remains divided into four distinct stands because the offices at the four corners of the complex are be retained. The proposed design envisions a continuous canopy for the entire complex in order to create unity in this ensemble. It also covers the offices, which means that the rain screens to the sides of the tribunes become redundant. All the spectators are able to see each other, so there is no longer any interruption for the ‘wave’. Making the external facades of the stadium convex in form creates the impression of an elliptical stadium and unifies the individual stands.
The first phase of the renovation was completed in 2001, comprising the northern stand combined with the new main building. Beneath the new grandstand there are business facilities and amenities for the players and the club. Occupying a central position in the main building is a large void connecting all the different levels around the staircase. The central hall surrounding the void is not merely a circulation space, but also affords an informal meeting place for the corporate public.
The rest of the public ascends via new steel staircases, which are affixed to the outside of the stadium’s other stands. The seating is accessed via the supporters’ promenade, along which the refreshment facilities and toilets are also located.
Work on the new southern stand, which also houses a sports complex, was completed in 2003. A stack of four storeys with sports halls, car parks and shops, combined with a promenade with public facilities. In the final phase, the stands on the short sides were altered and the canopy around the stadium completed.
The canopy above the northern stand consists of a series of trusses with an overhang of 28 metres. The east and west sides are both covered over in a single sweep by a truss of 70 metres that runs along the length of the stand. The southern stand is also spanned in a single sweep by a space-frame truss that is more than 100 metres long. V-shaped supporting columns on either side of the stand hold aloft the main trusses.