The one year “arena rise and fall” cycle began with piles placed in the lake to support a massive terraced wooden construction (‘Terrasses de la Confrérie) and an elevated public walkway. This was followed by earth works for the arena “basement” a below-ground pit for housing the 20m long central ramp which allowed scenes such as 200 soldiers marching up from out of the ground. ⬇
The construction is as impressive as the daring investment decision to make this and other equally bold features of the arena.
In addition to the extra height clearance provided by the ramp pit, there is also a 2% slope down towards the lake, providing an extra meter of available headroom at the south end compared to the north end of the 50m long stage area.
⬅ Photo during construction shows shallow north end stage floor clearance; in the distance is the south end, showing position of the ramp. Photo: alexandre_buttler_epfl
⬆ Our photo above, taken during deconstruction, shows part of the the concrete pit and the “hinge” end of the 20m long and 4 meter-wide ramp. The ramp in its raised position must hold the weight of many performers as well as vehicles – it also carries part of the LED floor, continuing to display as it descends and rises. In the raised position it is difficult to see any tell-tale gap; precision of positioning of the ramp is to the millimeter – amazing for such a large and heavy structure.
⬇ View below shows the ramp girder also from the “hinge” end, looking into the south (lake) end of the arena. The ramp here looks short and stubby because of the telephoto effect, photo being taken from the north end of the site.
⬇ Photos below show part of the center section and a montage outlining three “activators” — in fact we have no other information as to how the ramp was raised and guided. We assume pneumatic pistons but we were unable to get a close look. By the way, no need to report the photo, it is a Photoshop “selfie” !