Retractable seating for multi-use stadia

In today's competitive sports, leisure and entertainment world, every square foot of usable venue space is valuable.

SCX Special Projects helps architects to create venues that respond to new market opportunities - from adding a few rows of extra capacity, to creating thousands more concert tickets, to transforming an entire Premier League football pitch into an NFL field. 

The challenge

In response to the need for entertainment venues to increase occupancy rates and compete against alternative destinations, architects have invented increasingly innovative multi-use stadia.

Such multi-use spaces often require portions of a traditionally fixed building to move, or to facilitate a transformation from one venue layout to another. Moving structures on this scale – safely and under control – requires very specialist expertise.

The solution

Image: Around 800 seats attached to hydraulic ramps pivot up to create valuable concert space


SCX Special Projects has engineered and built some of the world’s iconic kinetic architecture. In 2019, it had two significant debuts in the kinetic architecture world: the dividing retractable pitch at Tottenham Hotspur’s new ground, and the No.1 Court concertina roof at Wimbledon.

However, it’s not just roofs and pitches that we can make move. We also help the architect create practical and valuable new spaces through retractable seating and terraces.

“Venue space is valuable, and architects try their best to maximise every square foot. We bring a whole new dimension to their work, taking them beyond static buildings and into moving structures.”

Mike Challenger, Chief Engineer, SCX Special Projects

Solving vehicular access

  • The new Tottenham Hotspur stadium was designed from the outset to be multi-use, far beyond football
  • NFL, rugby, boxing, music concerts, exhibitions and more will take place within this ground breaking stadium in London
  • Our pivoting seating terrace ensures that large HGV trucks can access the pitch to deliver equipment


Fit-for-purpose engineering

  • Our engineers cover the full spectrum from mechanical and electrical design, through assembly and testing, to installation and final commissioning
  • ‘Keeping it simple’ is a challenging yet rewarding endeavour: by reducing complexity, we can increase reliability and minimise maintenance
  • Two hydraulic rams lift the pre-cast concrete block, which carries 80 Spurs seats


Iconic engineering that doesn’t skip the detail

  • We engineered and installed the world-first dividing retractable football pitch at Spurs’ new stadium
  • We also delivered the pitch surround that rises and falls to create Premier League or NFL configurations
  • And we designed the tunnel ramps that move with the pitch, including the one with pivoting seating


Creating concert capacity

  • The retractable seating pivots along a giant rear hinge, creating valuable additional space for the stage set
  • More space means more tickets for sale, highly lucrative when hosting big name concerts
  • The stadium can accommodate 25,000 standing concert-goers when the seating is retracted
The power to pivot

  • Hidden under the steel frame is the mechanism that controls the entire pivoting terrace
  • Eighteen powerful 8-metre cylinders raise and lower the seating, fed by hydraulic power packs
  • In total nearly 800 seats swing upwards to reveal the flat, practical concrete base beneath


Safety always in mind

  • Massive moving structures always require an unwavering focus on safety
  • An expert blend of mechanical engineering and electrical control ensures safety as well as ease of use
  • In addition to the engineering, SCX Special Projects also provided assembly, test and installation services


Even the smallest spaces matter

  • Court 2 at Wimbledon has an entry tunnel along one side of the stadium
  • A retractable terrace spanning the opening was conceived, for additional spectator capacity
  • SCX Special Projects was invited to assess the concept and to provide the hydaulic pivoting solution


Bespoke stadia solutions

  • We have engineered stadia solutions from small pivoting terraces to a 10,000-tonne retractable football pitch
  • Wach solution is designed to increase the utilisation of valuable venue space
  • SCX Special Projects can deliver everything from initial concept, to full engineering drawings, to manufacture, to installation and final commissioning


The retractable seating at Tottenham Hotspur

General arrangement of the access tunnel and pivoting seating terrace at Tottenham Hotspur. The solution adds over 1.7 metres of headroom to the north-east access tunnel, allowing large vehicles into the inner bowl.

Let's talk more about retractable seating solutions for multi-use stadia

SCX can help sport, leisure and entertainment businesses to make better use of their venues. We live and breathe moving structures - and we can deliver your project from concept to final commissioning. Talk to us today.

Call us on +44 114 262 6199, email us at, or complete the contact form below and we'll be in touch.

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SCX Special Projects Ltd

Roman Ridge Road, Sheffield, S9 1GA, United Kingdom

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199