Successful symposium in Ruhpolding, Germany

Under the supervision of Professor Dr Natalie Essig, Munich University of Applied Sciences (HM) organised a two-day symposium on the subject of “Sports Facilities with a Future” from 6 to 7 July 2017 in Ruhpolding in collaboration with IAKS Germany and the International Union of Architects (UIA). The workshop’s cooperation partners were the Federal Institute of Sports Science (BISp), the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), the research project CESBA Alps and the Bavarian Chamber of Architects. The municipality of Ruhpolding made its facilities at its guesthouse and its Old School available for the workshop.


Ruhpolding’s Deputy Mayor, Dr Ulrike Pfeifer, welcomed the visitors personally and stressed the importance of sport and particularly of the annually staged Biathlon World Cup for the municipality.

The President of the Bavarian Chamber of Architects, Christine Degenhart, underlined in her welcome address the importance of the multifunctional nature of sports facilities so that sustainable operation can be ensured. Another factor for success is the cooperation of municipalities in sports facility planning.


Then Gar Holohan (UIA, Aura Holohan Group) turned to current trends in stadium construction. Taking participants on a trip into the future, he explained how fan behaviour and hence the requirements of large sports venues will change. In terms of sustainable development, he appealed to designers to promote a better understanding of sustainability and enhance the value attached to it.


Two parallel workshops were held in the afternoon. One was concerned with the construction of new sports facilities for mass sports and the modernisation of such facilities. The emphasis here was on the national and local levels. The second workshop was devoted to venues for large-scale international events and particularly to their strategies for legacy use. The lectures were held in English.

Bianca Quardokus (DOSB), Karin Schwarz-Viechtbauer (ÖISS) and Michael Palmen (BISp) presented the sports facility situation in Germany and Austria and stressed the importance of sport and sports facility infrastructure for society. Owing to the diversified and in some cases conflicting trends in future sports development, creative solutions are called for. In addition, clients and clubs should be assisted in their efforts.


After this, Alexander Schwab (ASA – Alexander Schwab Architekten), Jochen Lerche (Companeer) and Simone Magdolen (HM) reported from the practice of sports facility planning. They stressed how important it is to gauge actual demand locally and to reconsider the standard guidelines in exceptional cases. The involvement of all the sports facility’s future user groups at the start of the project and drawing on experience from existing projects (construction and operation) are decisive for a project’s success.


In the English-language workshop, Professor Dr Nathalie Essig (HM, IAKS Germany) and Andrea Moro (iiSBE Italia) presented sustainability strategies and their application to sports facilities. In addition, Harald Fux (RAUMKUNST) and Alessandro Zoppini (Gensler) presented international examples of successful sports facility architecture and referred to various aspects of the sustainability of arenas. On the basis of the examples, it became evident that legacy use should be taken into account at the planning stage. Sports facilities with temporary extensions for large events and conversions of facilities for other usages (e.g. into an exhibition hall) have proven successful in the past.


At the end of the first day of the workshop, the partici­pants visited the Chiemgau Arena, Ruhpolding’s sporting showpiece, followed by a barbecue buffet against the panorama of the Alps.


The second day of the symposium opened with lectures by Professor Dr Natalie Essig and Professor Geraint John (UIA, Populous). Professor Dr Essig presented the Guide to Sustainable Sports Facility Construction, a research project commissioned by the Federal Institute of Sports Science (BISp). Professor John reviewed the sports facility architecture of the past and into the future and illustrated how important it is to integrate sports facilities in urban life.


In the workshops that followed, Harald Fux and André Younes (Municipality of Zorneding) put forward contemporary strategies for sports facilities, from planning through to operation. Drawing on experience from the operation of the Allianz Arena in Munich, Thomas Albinger (Companeer) drew attention to the challenges at the planning stage for the day-to-day operation of large event venues and from these derived recommendations for action. Simone Magdolen (Munich University of Applied Sciences) presented her research project devoted to the exploitation of the synergies of sports facilities in the local neighbourhood and again stressed the necessity of interlinking sports facilities with their surroundings.


Finally, the participants visited the Max Aicher Arena in Inzell. The operator and the architect reported on the project and gave the participants a guided tour of the arena.