Alte Försterei

Capacity37 700
Country Germany
Clubs1. FC Union Berlin
CategoryDesign awaiting implementation
Cost€ 150 M
Design AF Projekt


Alte Försterei – design description

How did the plans for the biggest-ever expansion of Union Berlin stadium originate?

An der Alten Försterei stadium has existed since 1920. Initially, it was a fairly modest football facility, with embankments around the pitch. Between 1968 and 1970, the terraces on the eastern side were considerably extended, as were those behind the goals between 1979 and 1983. Between 2008 and 2009, the stands on the north, east and south sides were concreted and covered. More than 2,300 Union Berlin fans took an active part in the work, which was widely acclaimed throughout Germany and is still remembered with pride today.

In 2012–2013, a new, much larger main stand was built on the west side. The facility then took on its current form. With a capacity of 22,012 spectators, it is the second largest (after Olympic Stadium) stadium in Berlin. Interestingly, apart from the main stand, all sections in the stadium are standing. Union fans are known for creating a heated atmosphere during their team's matches.

In June 2017, the club unveiled plans for the largest expansion in the stadium's history. The stands on the north, east and south sides were to be expanded with a second tier and the capacity of the venue should increase to almost 37,000 spectators, while maintaining a high proportion of standing areas. The design also included the construction of a new, much larger clubhouse. The modernised facility was to be ready in 2020, in time for the stadium's centenary.

When will Stadion An der Alten Försterei be extended?

The implementation of the design has been delayed by the issue of solving traffic problems. The area around the stadium is already congested at matches, and increasing the capacity by 15,000 spectators will cause further problems. A new transport concept had to be developed, including an increased role for public transport. In the meantime, there was also the COVID-19 pandemic.

In November 2022, an updated stadium expansion concept was presented at the club's General Assembly and a new timetable was presented. The venue is expected to hold 37,700 spectators after the modernisation, slightly more than expected in 2017. The first renovations are expected to start as early as the beginning of 2023, but will not involve the stadium, but the old lodge standing next to it, which incidentally gave the venue its name.

The clubhouse next to the stadium is to be replaced by a new, much larger building. The training facilities behind the arena will also be rebuilt, and a multi-storey car park will be constructed next to the stadium.

The second phase of work will be the expansion of the venue itself. This is due to take place in the 2024/25 season, when Union will temporarily play their league games at Olympic Stadium. The detailed costs for the entire project are to be presented by the club in March 2023. The amount is said to be €150 million, which is significantly higher than the 2017 target (€38 million). The development of the project is to be carried out with Union funds.

In 2019, Union won a historic promotion to the Bundesliga. In 2021, the team played in the group phase of the Conference League and in 2022 in the group phase of the Europa League. The club regularly sells out tickets for the stadium, which is among the smallest in the Bundesliga, so its expansion is a real need.

What does Union Berlin stadium expansion project entail?

The project involves the remodelling of the stands on the north, east and south sides. The redevelopment will involve the demolition of the concrete terraces, laboriously built in 2008–2009 with a lot of fan input. In their place, however, new, steeper stands will be built, enlarged by a second tier and fully roofed. The new auditorium will be higher than the main stand on the west side. The floodlight masts will disappear from the corners and their role will be fully taken over by floodlights located under the roof.

The lower tier of the rebuilt stands will remain entirely with standing areas. On the upper tier, seats will be installed on the east and south sides. On the eastern side, in the upper tier, additional boxes will be created. The north stand, where the most impressive tifo displays are created and the loudest cheering takes place, will be entirely standing. The extension will increase the capacity of the stadium to 37,700 spectators. At the same time, the venue's characteristic high proportion of standing sections will be retained.

As part of the project, the club building standing next to the stadium will be replaced by a new one, much larger than its predecessor. The training facilities behind the stadium will also be redeveloped, including a new staff building. A double-decker car park and a new tram terminal will also be constructed next to the stadium to help solve transport problems.

The façades of the new stands and the buildings to be constructed around the stadium, like the main stand built in 2012–2013, will feature a large amount of yellow clinker bricks and will refer to the architecture of the surrounding industrial buildings.



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