Text description provided by the architects. The world-famous dressage stadium in the Sportpark Soers in Aachen is the largest of its kind and has recently been extended with a grandstand for 1,200 spectators, to accommodate 6,200 visitors in total. Completion of the construction work took place in July in time for the CHIO (Concours Hippique International Officiel), the most prestigious international equestrian tournament in the world, organized by the Aachen Laurensberger Racing Association every summer. Furthermore, next year the 'FEI European Championships Aachen 2015' are scheduled to take place.
Both from a national and international point of view, the annual CHIO in Aachen is an equestrian festival of superlatives. Each year more than 360,000 spectators attend the tournament, equating to about 550 horses, 300 riders, carriage drivers, and vaulters from more than 25 nations, and over 600 accredited journalists and 200 TV reporters reporting on the event worldwide. Taking place every year, this mega-sporting event itself has defined the parameters of the construction period: the grandstand could be realized within only 12 months of construction. The extension was initiated by the European Championships’ total investment of 7 to 8 million Euro; construction is funded with 3 million from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The spectator grandstand is designed as a step-construction of reinforced concrete, over which is a projecting steel roof construction. The load-bearing structure of the roof comprises of a welded steel frame clad by trapezoidal metal sheeting, providing bracing and cover. The steel structure rests on the rear of the stepped concrete platform on a reinforced concrete ring beam.
The roof load is carried on only four slender steel columns in the front area of the ground floor and from there via reinforced-concrete round columns to the foundation. The foundations are achieved with bored piles, connected by tie beams.
The underlying grandstand construction is a solid construction comprised primarily of prefabricated components. The spectator stand is built from precast-concrete parts forming stepped seating. These are supported by reinforced concrete beams, whose load is carried by the reinforced concrete cross walls and round columns and transferred into the foundations. The functional areas on the ground floor between the cross walls are masonry construction roofed with reinforced prefab concrete slabs. The non-loadbearing interior walls are standard plaster partitions.
The main player of the extension is the new grandstand. In order to emphasize the design, all surfaces of the spectator stands, the staircase, and the immense roof are a single white tone, so that the body of the structure clearly stands out. An encompassing powder-coated aluminum panelling and the white-coated steel-panelled balustrading bring together the distinctive roof edge, the spectator stand, and the rear wall. The white-coated sheet-panelled facade of the internal rear wall of the grandstand finds a counterpart in the closed aluminum-panelled ceiling.
The glass facades closing each side are offset with a post and rail façade system with varying transom positioning (in DB 703 dark gray), equipped above and below with an open joint for the subsequent installation of a textile sunscreen. The functional rooms below the stand are covered with a cladding system composed of aluminium-panels with a high-quality anthracite-colored coating.
The glass wall below the lower tier separates the riding field from the spectator’s area on the ground floor, and protects the horses and riders during competitions from the noise of the registration and tournament director offices. For privacy, this all-glass-construction is covered with a foil printed with motifs from equestrian sports.