Fans for the MLS’ new LAFC team clamored for safe standing at the new Banc of California Stadium. But safe standing—standing sections separated by rails—isn’t for everyone and the team knew it needed to cater to both fans and non-soccer events.
With that in mind, designer Gensler Sports worked with SC Railing to give North America its first stadium with safe standing rail seats, a global first-of-its-kind custom design.
“Our supporters have been our focus since the beginning,” says Larry Berg, LAFC lead managing owner. “As we build this club from the ground up our supporters have been at the helm and we remain committed to making sure they have the best match-day experience in Major League Soccer.”
The West Coast’s first safe standing stadium will provide an opportunity for supporters to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, creating an electric and unified stadium atmosphere on match days, according to the club, when the new stadium opens in 2018.
Since the design process started in 2014, Gensler says it has worked with the club and supporters via workshop design sessions specifically focused on the architectural elements of the supporter’s north end of the stadium.
Designed by SC Railing, the systems was designed for safety and to maximize sight lines with an angled rail. The design style aims for a more comfortable design than what is already available on the market. The safe standing rail seat concept took nearly two years of intense research, design and analysis of top rail seat projects around the world including Celtic Park, Allianz Arena, RB Arena Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion. Gensler played an integral role in conceiving and implementing the safe-standing concept. In addition, at 34 degrees, the Supporters’ Section will be the steepest in MLS.
“I have been absolutely blown away by the passion and commitment of our original supporters,” says Tom Penn, LAFC president and owner. “From the beginning they have consistently brought us energy, ideas, input and love.”
LAFC kicked off 2017 by uniting over 2,000 fans at the stadium construction site and providing supporters with an opportunity to make their mark in the concrete that will be the foundation and heart of the stadium, whether standing or not.