SSDA 2019: Steel earns its spurs

1 November 2019

Two steel tree columns support the 17,000-seat South Stand (Image: Hufton + Crow)

The Premier League’s newest stadium has a 62,000 all-seater capacity, with a sliding pitch, and steel was central to its structural design.

Constructed on a site that overlaps much of the old – now demolished – White Hart Lane ground’s footprint, Tottenham Hotspur’s new home has been designed as an iconic structure and a benchmark for future stadium design.

Award and Project of the Year: Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, New Stadium
Architect: Populous
Structural engineers: BuroHappold Engineering, schlaich bergermann partner
Steelwork contractor: Severfield
Main contractor: Mace
Client: Tottenham Hotspur Football Club

It is a tight atmospheric bowl, which feels and looks like a traditional, albeit very modern, football stadium with its single-tier home end.

Maximising its use, the stadium features a sliding pitch that will allow other events, such as concerts and American football matches to be held on a regular basis, without damaging the important football turf surface.

The project team used structural steelwork to form the majority of the stadium and this included the erection of five key steel features: the East Stand Y-columns and transfer structure; the South Stand tree columns; the South Stand transfer structures; the North Stand cantilever structure; and the West Stand atrium structure.

“The long span nature of many areas in the new stadium are virtually unachievable in any other common construction material and the shapes and forms created using steel are both elegant and robust,” says BuroHappold engineer Chris Shrubshall.

“Also, the construction programme was such that steel provided a significantly reduced erection period, to the point where some areas were changed from concrete to steel construction at a late stage.”

Structural steel was used for its ability to create elegant and robust forms (Image: Hufton + Crow)

Supporting level three of the East Stand, the Y-columns were among the first major pieces of structural steelwork to be erected at the new stadium.

They provide an atrium at the entrance to the stand and reduce the number of columns coming to ground level by collecting a column on each branch. They also allow the facade to be cut back into the building, producing a dramatic overhang.

What the judges said:

“The new stadium is not just for football but provides a multi-function entertainment facility. The steelwork, which has been finished to a very high standard, plays an integral part in the form and architectural expression of the building.”

The South Stand tree structures were created to provide an elegant method of transferring the 17,000-seat South Stand over the sliding pitch below. The culmination of elegant architectural design, robust structural engineering and careful fabrication, the trees are the main feature of the South Stand.

Beneath the South Stand there is a series of mega transfer trusses, spanning in three sections across the sliding pitch. These trusses have been coordinated and integrated with the architecture, so that the concourses, toilets and concessions are all as uninterrupted as possible.

The North Stand cantilevers 10m over the tier below. This is formed using box-section rakers. The load is delivered into the reinforced concrete cores, using pre-stressed high strength bars. Significant dynamic analysis has been carried out to justify the performance of the stand. There are significant service penetrations with the North Stand, which allow the distribution of services around the space below.

Meanwhile, the West Stand is supported on a series of slender steel box-section columns, which are 21m tall. These columns create a spectacular atrium space below.

Produced by the BCSA and Steel for Life in association with Construction Manager

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