Amphitheater ElspeElspe, Germany
Since 1 July 1978, approximately 4400 spectators of the famous Karl May Festival have been sitting under a textile canopy during each performance. After the Olympic building in Munich, the membrane roof in Elspe was one of the largest winterproof canopies in Europe.
Four masts with a diameter of up to 1.50 m hold two steel cables that are 72 mm thick and more than 100 m long. The 127 m long fringe of the membrane is stabilised by a polygonal cable. The membrane is up to 77 m long and 32 – 40 m wide. It is fixed to 9 knots of the steel cable system and 8 points at the edge of a concrete wall that is 65 m long.
In 2015, after 37 years, the old membrane roof was replaced by a new canopy of exactly the same design.
Low and Bonar developed a customised tarpaulin: the goal was to remain as true as possible to the original material and green colour of 1978.
For Low and Bonar, procuring the new material was a great opportunity in two respects.
On the one hand, the dismounted material gave an excellent impression of how the membrane behaves under real conditions. This had previously been tested in the course of artificial weathering tests.
The fabric held strong for 37 years, even under the enormous snow loads in the Sauerland region of Germany.
Continuous on-site tests in recent years had already shown that the roof was not in danger of coming down. In the end, the decision was based on aesthetic reasons: a bright, new colour impression was to be created.
In this regard, it was clear that the same material would be chosen again, as this material had performed outstandingly in the past 37 years.