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Stadia Design & Technology Expo 2012 Conference speaker in focus: SABIC's Frans Adriaansen

Frans Adriaansen reveals how polycarbonate sheet is changing the face of stadia, examines the role of sustainability in stadium design, and explains why the Aviva Stadium in Dublin is very special

 

With 34 years experience in global architectural and engineering project management, Frans Adriaansen is well-placed as the design engineering service team leader of the specialty film & sheet business at SABIC’s Innovative Plastics unit. With a degree in mechanical engineering, he begun his career as a design specialist at General Electric Plastics (now SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business) and over the last three decades, he has worked on a number of impressive projects where Lexan polycarbonate sheeting has been used to create stunning roof glazing, facades and walkways.

Adriaansen cites one of the greatest examples of design freedom in his career as the Aviva stadium in Dublin, Ireland. Here, he says, the possibility to process solid polycarbonate sheet as if it were metal, with bending, drilling and cutting, enabled the architects to construct a completely transparent structure. “It’s an ever-changing and beautiful façade,” he says. “The stadium’s curvilinear walls are constructed from solid Lexan polycarbonate (PC) sheet, which adds elegance, high performance and environmental benefits.”
Recognising the strategic contribution of Lexan sheet technology to the stadium, the European Polycarbonate Sheet Extruders (EPSE) honoured SABIC Innovative Plastics with its 2009 Best Project and Innovation Award.

Another great achievement for this design specialist was the realisation of the Shanghai South Railway station, which features the world’s largest transparent roof glazing (55,000m2), created with SABIC’s Lexan multi-wall sheet. Not only does this ambitious construction project represent one of the largest-ever polycarbonate sheet building projects, more importantly it underscores SABIC’s commitment to help revitalise Chinese infrastructure with some of the world’s most advanced material technologies.
 

Adriaansen will no doubt be discussing the success of these projects, and others, with other industry experts at Stadia Design & Technology Expo 2012, where he will be participating in the Roofing Innovations roundtable discussion.

The SABIC man will also be keen to discuss the two new football stadia that have recently been constructed in Poland for UEFA 2012 – projects that he has been following very closely. He says that the Gdansk stadium perfectly demonstrates the colour flexibility of polycarbonate sheet, while the Silesian (Śląski) stadium is a great example of a freestanding roof made from lightweight polycarbonate multi-wall sheet.

“I have personally worked on the Slaski project,” he says. “The new ultra-stiff Lexan multi-wall sheet was chosen to construct the 43,000 m2, free-hanging roof as a result of its ability to withstand high winds and heavy snow loads, which typical of the region.” This new 25mm, three-wall, cross-structure material will protect up to 55,200 spectators from the elements while still permitting natural light to fill the stadium.

While it is already a challenge to meet the requirements of architects in terms of design combined with safety, security and comfort level for spectators, Adriaansen notes that sustainable building designs and construction technologies are also increasing in importance, with architects looking to satisfy the public demand for environmentally responsible structures.

“An upswing in green buildings, reduced energy consumption and lifecycle analysis are the trends for the coming years,” he predicts, adding positively, “I’m sure new technology and material developments will help to create sustainable, innovative designs that will reduce energy consumption, and create a light and open multi-purpose environment.”
 

Frans Adriaansen will be one of the experts involved in Session 3: a Roofing Innovations roundtable discussion at Stadia Design & Technology Expo 2012 (14:00 -15:15hrs, Thursday 10 May, 2012)

 

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