The new “Europa-Park Stadion” with a capacity for 34,700 spectators was designed by HPP architects for German Bundesliga Soccer Club SC Freiburg. Situated in Northern Freiburg, near the airport and with excellent public transport connections, it substitutes the arena from 1954, the “Schwarzwaldstadion”.
As the previous construction no longer met the requirements of a modern sports venue, it only continued to be used with a special permit from the German Football League (DFL). When a feasability study revealed that refurbishment and extension of the old soccer arena would take around eleven years and would cost little less than a new building, the decision was easy.
Behavior of spectators, seismic area and consequences for structures
Imagine over thirty thousand spectators at a football game jumping up and down in unison. The structure they are jumping on will be subjected to dynamic loads and vibration in the foundation connections. Additionally, the designing team had to consider that Freiburg is situated in an seismic zone 2.
For demanding projects like this, experts are needed. HPP have extensive experience in the construction of sports facilities, and so have Krebs + Kiefer, who were responsible for the overall structural design and fire protection planning. Their expertise was complemented by Knippers Helbig for steel construction structural design and planning.
In Germany, column connections for seismic loading can be designed according to Eurocodes 2 to 7 in most cases for all seismic zones (0 to 3) in structures of significance category I to III with no more than 6 full floors. This includes precast connections – if necessary in combination with national approvals for the connecting components and, if required, with additional structural provisions according to Annex A of Eurocode 8.
The structural designers chose Peikko’s efficient bolted connections for all the precast concrete columns in the arena. The column connections, consisting of standard HPKM® Column Shoes and HPM® Anchor Bolts, serve as cantilever support in the assembly state and as bracing for normal forces in the final state.
The arena has a rectangular layout with spectator’s stands on all sides, and is wheelchair-accessible. Additionally, it houses the administration of the club in offices on 3 levels, a fan shop, the club museum and utility areas for players. A 24,000 m² (29,000 sq yd) cantilevered steel roof structure covers the whole outer layout.
The roof structure was designed by Knippers Helbig as a steel framework construction cantilevering almost 44 m (140 ft) from the outer wall. Where the roof structure rests on the wall or columns, Peikko’s galvanized anchor bolts were cast into the upper side for fastening the steel construction. The lattice trusses of the roof are fixed by diagonal outer steel columns that transfer the tensile forces into the fondations. They also make up the arena’s unique and characteristic zigzag façade.
“Using bolted connections for precast, you can erect the structure of a sports arena within 12 months,” explains Thorsten Heskamp, Customer engineer at Peikko Germany. In this case, the construction phase took longer. Construction Company Köster started building the new arena in November 2018. Köster has already built a number of sports arenas using Peikko’s products. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the building was completed only by the end of 2020, and that the opening was postponed to October 2021, but in the end SC Freiburg is content to finally move in to their new home and start writing a new chapter of their history.
SC Freiburg's history continues in the new stadium
The friendly opening game against FC St. Pauli with opening ceremony took place on October 7, 2021, in front of 15,000 spectators. On October 16, the first competitive game ended in a draw with RB Leipzig, last season’s runners-up in the league. Due to COVID-19 situation, only 20,000 spectators were at the game. Christian Streich, the Manager of Bundesliga club SC Freiburg, thinks it is unlikely that the team will need time to settle into their new surroundings at the Europa-Park Stadion. Asked about his experiences in the new arena, he states:“It was great, and when you imagine that there could be 15,000 more, hopefully in the near future, then of course it's fantastic. It will be incredibly loud and emotional.”
- Investor: Stadion Freiburg Objektträger GmbH & Co. KG (SFG)
- Architecture: HPP architects
- Structural Design: Krebs + Kiefer
- Steel Construction: Knippers Helbig
- Checking Engineer: Schlaich Bergermann Partner
- Precaster: SBL
- Construction company: Köster GmbH
- Peikko Products: Rebar Couplers, Bolted Connections
- (Anchor Bolts, Column Shoes, Beam Shoes)
- Construction: Precast
- Completion: 2020