Amsterdam ArenA

Arenaboulevard 1
Amstel III/Bullewijk
R.H.M. Schuurman
Sj. Soeters
Metro halte Bijlmer/ArenA
Bedrijven, Commercieel, Cultuur, Leisure, Openbare ruimte

UFO/sporting palace

Amsterdam ArenA was completed in 1996 to a design by Rob Schuurman together with Sjoerd Soeters. It is the home stadium of the Ajax football club, and also hosts concerts, dance festivals and other large scale events.

Rob Schuurman gave the stadium the look of a flying saucer, round in shape and with a humped roof. The UFO image is particularly prominent at night when the stadium is festooned with coloured lights. The final stage of Schuurman’s design ran into problems with the civic building aesthetics committee, which requested the addition of stairwells and a plinth. Schuurman’s characteristic spatial forms go along with a love of associative references. The stairwells he designed have round holes which are linked diagonally, evoking associations with football bootlaces. The staircases at the front end of the stadium have particularly large round holes, suggesting a game in which a player has to kick a ball through the holes.

ArenA was the first stadium in Europe to be equipped with a retractable roof. The roof consists of two shells measuring 40 by 118 metres which meet at the centre when closed, an operation which takes 18 minutes. They enable games and other activities to continue when the weather is unfavourable.

The statium’s siting on top of an existing road was the result of a bureaucratic dispute between the municipalities of Amstedam and Ouuder-Amstel. The road, Burgemeester Stramanweg, continues under ArenA whose football pitch and grandstands are elevated ten metres above ground level. The postmodern archway over the road was designed by Sjoerd Soeters and forms a gold and silver gateway to the Transferium, a car parking facility with direct connections to public transport. (ARCAM/LM)