Cheeseheads’ stadium roof work almost done!


AZ Alkmaar stadium August 2020 Image: AZ Alkmaar

Work is continuing in full swing on the new roof of AFAS Stadion in Alkmaar, Netherlands. The new roof has been necessitated following the old roof caving in last year in August due to very strong winds. The old canopy collapsed onto the stands. Today, almost the entire old roof is gone, with the last portions being removed over the private boxes in the West.

The 17,023-capacity AFAS Stadion is a stadium in Alkmaar, Netherlands. It is used for football matches and is the home stadium of AZ Alkmaar.

AZ Alkmaar is a Dutch professional football club from Alkmaar and the Zaanstreek. The club plays in the Eredivisie, the highest professional football league in the Netherlands, and hosts home matches at the AFAS Stadion.

The stadium’s western plaza has been turned into an assembly zone, marked by blue scaffolds that will soon hold the venue’s new main arch. Bent slightly, this primary truss will reach the height of 17 meters and span 170 m! Its total weight is expected to reach 2,400 tons, which means its lifting into place will be a sight to behold for observers and an engineering challenge.

This single element of AFAS Stadion’s roof alone will weigh 2,400 tons! A special transport brought the very first element of what will be a 170-meter arch.

Presently, offices are being pulled down in the North corner, the South one will come second. Foundation work is already ongoing in the East, behind the stand which suffered from the collapse last year, and North. Because new foundations are being laid outside the facility itself, no major structural intervention is needed.

Interestingly, behind both goals, the uppermost rows of seating were removed, giving all end sections the same height. The operation was a smooth one as the extra rows were added on ancillary structure, not based on the main one.

Several further rows will be added on both ends and in the two eastern corners, bringing all South-East-North sections to the same height of 32 rows (presently the central east section is significantly taller). This should result in net gain of seating of 2,500-3,000, provided the City gives the go-ahead and new parking arrangements.

Finally, within the most vibrant part of the stadium (South stand), AZ Alkmaar have put up two first sections of safe standing. According to the manufacturer, a total of 1,100 should be put in place within two sections, at the moment the number is 924. Alkmaar is thus the second club in recent weeks to install safe standing, following Ajax Amsterdam, the Dutch professional club based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Roof rewind

Earlier, Netherlands-headquartered Dutch construction-services business BAM Bouw en Techniek was commissioned by Dutch professional football club AZ Alkmaar to build a new roof for their residence. Architects ZJA were given charge of designing the new structure.

The AFAS Stadion was very much in the news when its roof caved in due to strong winds in August 2019. Fortunately, the stadium was not in use at that point of time. The roof collapse led to AZ having to play home games at Dutch association football club ADO Den Haag’s stadiumCars Jeans Stadion in The Hague, Netherlands. When they returned to their home ground, the stadium didn’t have a roof.

A statement released earlier read, “The new roof – designed by ZJA – will extend four meters on all sides towards the field, which will provide the stadium with more comfort for supporters in rainy weather. The current light poles are being replaced by sustainable LED lighting in the eaves.”

Exulted Reinald Top, partner and architect at ZJA, “We are delighted that the design for the new roof will be realized soon. Together with AZ, Royal HaskoningDHV and Stadium Consultancy, a beautiful design was created in a short period of time. Football matches can be enjoyed again in a safe, comfortable and modern stadium. We wish AZ and BAM good luck with the construction work.”

AZ’s General Director Robert Eenhoorn said, “As a club, we are taking another step forward, despite the difficult time we have been in together. We offer our fans a safe, comfortable and innovative stadium.”

Remarked Eric Moleman, Director of BAM Bouw en Techniek, “We can really start to work now. The preparations are in full swing. We are very proud we can use the knowledge and experience of BAM to build the new roof and to contribute to the realization of the ambitions of AZ Alkmaar.”

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