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Modernisation of the Brentanobad stadium in Frankfurt, Germany
by Bernd Schnabel and Marc Lukowski, S.Lukowski + Partner
Along with the two major arenas where the home games of the German premier league teams Eintracht and FSV Frankfurt are carried out, the German city of Frankfurt am Main also has a further stadium. The "Sportanlage am Brentanobad" located on Ludwig-Landmann road in the city district of Rödelheim, is home to the women's football team 1st FFC Frankfurt, winners of the Women's Champions League title in 2015 and several times German champion.
The Brentanobad stadium also houses the home crowd for football clubs SG Rot-Weiß Frankfurt and ESV Blau-Gold Frankfurt. The stadium was built around 1940 and one of its two training fields was equipped with an artificial turf pitch in 1988 – the first of its kind in Frankfurt. In 1992 a main grandstand with more than 1000 seats and an integrated functional building complex with a restaurant was built.
Plans for a modernisation of the stadium by the city of Frankfurt were initiated in 2006 as the old grass standing area and the ash perimeter running track around the main playing field had become shabby and were showing signs of age. In addition, the whole infrastructure of the stadium no longer satisfied the standards of a modern football stadium with live TV broadcasting of the games. It also no longer fulfilled requirements with regard to safety and fixtures for games in leading national leagues and international competitions (Women's UEFA Cup), such as fencing, sufficient emergency exits and modern toilets. Accordingly, in 2011, the city of Frankfurt decided to modernise the whole stadium including both training fields. Renovation and modification of the natural grass pitch, construction of a new grandstand and a further building complex, a completely new drainage system and water supply, a new floodlight system, creation of new pathways, car and bus parking spaces, conversion of a clay court to an artificial turf pitch and modernisation of the existing artificial turf pitch were planned. The drainpipes of the grandstand buildings were old and to ensure removal of rainwater, new backwater pipes needed to be planned as the building substrate does not allow natural seepage.
The S. Lukowski + Partner architecture firm based in Darmstadt, Germany, was given the task of planning the outdoor facilities and sports fields by Frankfurt city authorities. Planning of the new building complex, floodlighting of the main field and the canalisation was carried out by the city building department themselves.
Planning for modernisation
Based on preliminary designs from the city planners, the draft plans from landscape architects S. Lukowski + Partner included a generous creation of two new stadium entrances at the eastern side onto Ludwig-Landmann as well as a new carpark for around 60 vehicles to the north of the site. It was planned for the stadium to be used solely for football in future. This meant the existing running tracks and field athletics facilities were no longer needed and the space could be used to relocate spectator seating nearer to the field. The pitch is now surrounded on three sides by eight terraces of standing space and on the fourth side by the grandstand with seats. A striking characteristic feature of the stadium are the corners in the area of the standing terraces, which are sloped by 45° in each case, forming a short slope towards the areas leading down to the pitch.
After modernisation, the stadium has a capacity of 5650 spectators. The new standing terraces can be divided into three sectors with mobile fencing sections if required and all infrastructure fittings such as toilets, kiosk locations, spectator entrances and emergency exits have been planned and located according to this possible segment division. Location sites with all necessary power and communication lines have been installed for mobile kiosks and television cameras.
Planning and implementation of the project was subject to various special specifications. Apart from polluting material in the earthworks to the spectator terraces and difficult substrate conditions, the whole site was under suspect of possible buried munition dumps or unexploded devices. The major challenge, however, was that the whole renovation and modernisation work should take place without closing the stadium. This meant that the building work needed to be planned around the national and champion's league games from both a time schedule and logistic point of view. Approaches, spectator entrances, television camera sites and communication truck locations needed to be organised specifically for each game and building site security provided accordingly. A minimum capacity of 2800 spectators needed to be ensured for every game, which made completion of building work in several stages an absolute necessity.
The natural grass pitch in the stadium was replaced during the summer break and as there had been repeated problems from enormous numbers of earthworms, a completely new pitch laid. After removing the existing sod and substrate, a geo textile layer was installed to prevent worm activity including under the drainage pipes. A drainage layer and, in order to save time, a pre-mixed grass substrate layer was added. Laying of the new grass sods ensured that the pitch was ready for play in time for start of the new season. During the building work the whole under-ground irrigation system was also replaced. Preparation work taken into account in the planning allowed play to continue without interruption even though the new rooms for the technical equipment were not yet ready when the old pump and control systems were disassembled. This also applied to the electrical supply for the training pitch lighting systems.
The area between the training pitches and the southern grandstand was reallocated. A new and generously dimensioned carpark provides space for team busses and television outdoor broadcast trucks. Next to this, an artificial turf mini-pitch with surrounding nets was integrated as an additional sports area.
Large, new entrances leading from the Ludwig-Landmann road have been installed with pay desks and security check areas. The main entrance gate in the north-west of the stadium leading to Rödelheimer Parkweg was also enlarged and expanded.
Fencing systems and spectator barriers where planned in accordance with German football association and UEFA requirements. Instead of a 2.20 m high safety fence around the playing field, a 1.10 m high fence was installed to create an open and friendly stadium appearance. For the same reason, it was decided not to install a fixed division into spectator segments.
Due to the space limitations and to improve spectator safety, ball nets up to 8 m high were installed. In order to allow uninterrupted camera coverage of the goal area despite these nets, a behind-the-goal camera location was integrated into the southerly ball net construction. The camera is now located at a height of 4 m above the goalmouth.
The existing artificial turf pitch of the west training field showed extreme wear and needed to be replaced. During this renovation work, the pitch size needed to be increased to dimensions of 100 x 64 m to comply with German league regulations for junior football pitches. Replacement of surface water drainage systems and, lighting cables and the irrigation system as well as access paths and spectator barriers was also necessary. Due to this necessary increase in size of the pitch, parts of the lighting installation also needed to be adapted and some of the light masts relocated. During the building work, the eastern clay all-weather pitch was used partly as a storage area and partly as parking space during home games. At the end of the renovation work, the whole clay surface was replaced with artificial turf while maintaining the overall size and position.
The building work, started in July 2013, was completed on time and within the budget for the start of the 2015 season due, among other things, to be the good and efficient cooperation between the Frankfurt city authorities, the planning company S. Lukowski + Partner based in Darmstadt and the sport and outdoor facility installers Heus-Betonwerke GmbH from Elz.
More information is available at www.SL-plan.de
Photo: S. Lukowski + Partner Landschaftsarchitekt-Diplomingenieure.