A large part of any arena or stadium is built using concrete, either poured (usually on-site) into forms or precast and transported to site for positioning by crane. Precast elements include seating risers – double and triple – and raker beams (which support the risers), and columns. Designers also use concrete for walls, walkways, stairwells, staircases, ramps, and exteriors. An arena or stadium design can have upwards of 500 precast parts and, additionally, 1,000 plus stair parts.
Sporting clubs could take more advantage of the ability to cast concrete mouldings to introduce team logos, sporting images and the like into concrete exterior walls that are often left bland or are clad with inappropriate, albeit attractive, materials.
The expertise of the precaster is important so seek out contractors who have links to the right team of designers and subcontractors. There are plenty of venue build projects that have gone wrong and needed rectifying or have gone over budget because of inexperienced project managers hiring inexperienced contractors. If you want to save money, seek out a precaster that already has the components you want for your venue and buy their re-use.
Foundations and larger columns are often poured on site and temperature can be important for correct curing so there will be some restricted windows of opportunity depending on prevailing weather. Concrete shrinks and creeps (deforms) and builders use various techniques to take account of this.
Designers include concrete elements in their calculations for grandstands that will be subject to fans jumping up and down on them. This ‘dynamic behaviour’ of concrete tribunes is worry to view but perfectly safe when properly planned for.
Pouring the concrete for an arena floor that will become the base of an ice pad needs special attention and experience. The concrete will undergo temperature change and needs to cure in the correct time frame.
Your contractor may be able to offer ‘green’ concrete, produced with low CO2 output for example. There are also concrete elements with LED displays prefixed and with solar panel film pre-applied.
Concrete can be durable without extra coatings and is therefore very cost-effective. However, various admixtures are available to produce floors with better grip, coloured and smooth finishes, and easier to maintain surfaces. Investment at construction time can pay off over a lifetime of cleaning and maintaining.
PREVIOUS: Exterior design and materials
NEXT: Roof design