The reputation of a stadium or arena can be enhanced or damaged by the playing surface, whether it’s a basketball floor or a natural turf pitch. Arenas have the problem of turning over from one surface to another, often overnight. This allows them to accommodate different sports, such as ice hockey and basketball, and flat floor concerts when the ice is covered over with special materials so that the fans can safely and comfortably sit or stand on it.
Design for flexibility of use, with as few barriers as possible to changing the playing area and the athletic surfaces on it. Place storage for surfaces, coverings, flat floor seating and machinery as near to the event floor as possible.
Fans and media are often obsessed by the ‘green bit in the middle’ of stadiums. The multi-layered pitch construction can include pipes to carry hot water, aeration systems that blow and suck water and air through the turf, porous base layers and somewhere down below a solid base.
The top layer, the rootzone, is a mixture of sand and synthetic materials, into which the grass seed is sown or onto which specially grown sports turf is laid. There is also proven technology that weaves plastic fibres into the surface, and wheeled lighting units that groundsmen place on the pitch to encourage healthy turf growth during winter.
Multi-use implies concerts and other on-field events so that the pitch must be able to recover from play and from being covered over by a turf protection system.
Natural grass requires daylight and air circulation so specify transparent materials and enough ventilation when designing the structures around the pitch to avoid having to pay for returfing too often.
Most leagues in most sports allow the pitch to be made from synthetic grass. Consider the project as a complete system with all the parts working correctly together: solid base, drainage layer, heating layer (optional) base layer and synthetic carpet (with infill).
Plan for accommodation for the ground staff, including on match day, and storage space for machinery, growing materials, covers and pitch lighting. Larger machinery may need access for certain pitch maintenance procedures.
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