Europe’s largest polycarbonate roof over the historic Śląski stadium

gmp has completed the conversion of the sports venue in Chorzów, Poland

In the cultural and recreational park in Chorzów, Poland, the architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) have converted the Śląski stadium. Yesterday it has been officially inaugurated by a friendly match: On Tues- day, March 27, the Polish national squad played against Southkorea’s national team. With the completion of the venue the Silesian province has been given a new sports venue for track and field competitions to inter- national standard. The elegant structure complements the historic building from 1956. With a total area of 43,000 square meters, the lightweight stadium roof is currently the largest European roof with a translucent polycarbonate skin.

The Śląski stadium, the construction of which started in 1951 to a design by architect Julian Brzuchowski and engineer Wiktor Pade, was converted in the 1990s and served as the home ground of the Polish nation- al football team until the new national stadium was built in Warsaw in 2007. In addition to national and international football matches, the stadium was traditionally also used for large music events. The stadium also became internationally known as the venue for the Speedway World Cup, a motorcycle racing sport popular in Poland.
Originally, the stadium had been designated as a reserve venue for the 2012 European Football Champion- ship, but today the focus is more on hosting national and international track and field competitions. The modernized infrastructure and new services installations in the stadium are also designed to enhance the suitability of the venue for traditional concert performances.
An elegant tensile structure has been installed independent of the existing grandstands and ensures that the bright, open-air character of the stadium is largely retained. The tensile structure was erected with 40 restrained reinforced concrete columns at the required height of 37 meters above the pitch; its structural system is based on the principle of a bicycle wheel rim, with an upper and a lower external compression ring and several spokes in the form of tensile cables attached to the inner rim of the roof. The heterogeneous appearance of the structure with its existing and added grandstands with their different basic geometries has been unified by the oval roof construction, resulting in a homogeneous overall structure.
With the conversion of the Śląski stadium, Poland has acquired one of the largest and most up-to-date track and field arenas in Europe. The traditional Silesian colors, yellow and blue, have been used for the color scheme of the light-flooded interior of the stadium and the running track.

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