AFAS-stadion AZ, Alkmaar

AFAS-stadion AZ, Alkmaar

Alkmaar, Netherlands | View Map

AFAS Stadium AZ, Alkmaar

ZJA as Architects

A new roof

On august 10th 2019 a summer storm caused a section of the roof of the AFAS stadium in Alkmaar to collapse. AZ football club wanted to have a new roof as soon as possible and contacted architects ZJA, Royal HaskoningDHV and IGG to ensure the 2020/2021 competition could be conducted in a renovated stadium.

The design for the new roof is based on an entirely different principle than the previous one. The existing roof was self-supporting, and followed an undulating line, in response to the distribution of seats and the resulting lines of sight on the pitch. In the design for the renovated roof the emphasis is on optimal use of the space inside the stadium, resulting in a roof that is supported by crane like constructions situated outside the  exterior skin. This new roof is a flat structures that advances onto the stadium much further than the previous one, offering more protection against rain and wind.

More seats, A better spatial experience

From the very beginning of the process there have been ambitious ideas about what the future of the AFAS stadium would be. AZ football club envisions a future in which the stadium has a wide array of added functions, such as convention halls, offices and a hotel. In short, it could be a destination for many more reasons than watching a football match.

The plans for the current renovation do not go that far just yet, but the necessity to build a new roof is the ideal opportunity to realize a thorough upgrade. For starters, this new roof accommodates the desire for more seats, and this is done by raising the roof, and extending its reach into the stadium, which allows for more seats closer to the pitch to be protected from the weather. The wall behind the stands is made out of tough sheets of synthetic fabric, which can be printed with images corresponding to the club’s identity. More fans, closer to the pitch, more expressive furnishing and the possible return of terraces this will all result in a more vibrant atmosphere on day of the match. The four masts supporting the electric lights will be taken down, as the lighting will come from LED fixtures built into the edge of the roof, a more pleasant solution for players and fans alike.

Engineering and looks

The design had to be adapted given shortage of time available for construction. The crane like arms that lift the roof from outside and the 175 meters long giant beam that carries the main-stands can be built quickly and without interfering with the use of the stadium itself.

Seen from a distance this new roof will strengthen the identity of the AFAS stadium. The high backbone in brilliant white of the giant beam on the south west side is easily spotted from far away, and the crane arms made of white tubes add even greater power, strength and allure to the structure. The renovated stadium looks bigger and bolder. This is certainly the home of a confident football club eager to grow.

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