SV Darmstadt 98 e.V. holds its home games in the Merck Stadium at Böllenfalltor. The stadium is owned by the City of Darmstadt but does not meet present-day functional and economic requirements for staging professional events in the German soccer leagues. Since a complete overhaul of the stadium on the existing site appeared to be unfeasible in planning terms, AS+P was tasked with identifying new locations and reviewing these for their suitability and appropriateness as sites for a new build.
To assess the amount of space required, AS+P first developed a schematic sample stadium, in which the parameters that determine the planning, such as spectator capacity, utilized areas, functional areas, and supplementary uses including car parking requirements, were implemented by way of example. Following this, 11 possible locations were examined with regard to availability, size, layout, accessibility and compatibility with the environment, as well as possible conflict potential and cost risks. More in-depth location concepts were devised for four favored locations. These provided a spatial outline of the functional specifications for the operation of a 20-25,000-capacity soccer stadium suitable for a German soccer league (DFL) team and stated the requirements for any potential expansion of infrastructure required. During the course of further elaboration of the findings, these were presented at coordination meetings with the relevant authorities, and further consideration given to traffic routing.
The result of all this was that the high demands on the space in the very urban agglomeration of Darmstadt meant all four locations examined in depth involved in some cases serious potential for conflict. The City of Darmstadt therefore decided on a moderate expansion and modernization of the existing stadium.