King Abdullah Sports City Retractable Balustrade

The King Abdullah Sports City Stadium took two years to build, with its first football game, the final of the King’s Cup, taking place in May 2014. Upon completion, an unforeseen issue required the expertise of SCX Special Projects to engineer a solution.

The challenge

The King Abdullah Sports City stadium is a 60,000-seater football stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Pride of place is the King’s Box, featuring sliding glass doors that open to enable spectators and camera crews to see the King present the winners’ trophy.

A fixed, reinforced glass balustrade in front of the glass doors protects players from a 2-metre drop. However, a few months after the stadium’s opening, it was realised that the balustrade’s metal frame obstructed the King’s view of the game.

The solution

SCX Special Projects, renowned for its bespoke moving structures in the sporting world, was asked to engineer a solution to the design flaw in the balustrade.

Our engineering teams designed a retractable balustrade that integrates into the existing sliding door controls, raising and lowering in sync with the glass doors. The automated solution, with its toughened glass panels, now gives the King a clear view of the stunning Saudi stadium.

Meeting the King

  • Once the King’s Box glass doors open, the balustrade deploys automatically to protect players and journalists as they are greeted by the King
  • The balustrade measures 6m x 2m and is made from stainless steel and toughened glass
  • The bottom edge of the stainless steel frame extends 1.5m beyond the glass to conceal the guide tracks, keeping them safe and out of sight


Mechanical power and precision

  • The 400kg balustrade is driven by a single electrical motor, connected to a lay shaft that feeds two screw jacks, one either side of the balustrade
  • The screw jacks raise and lower the balustrade along vertical tracks, with the mechanical design ensuring that the balustrade remains level throughout
  • Raising and lowering the balustrade takes just 30 seconds


Integrated, automated, safe

  • SCX integrated the controls for the new balustrade into the existing electrical system for the sliding doors
  • The automation sequence ensures safety at all times: the doors only open once the balustrade is fully raised; the balustrade only lowers once the doors are fully closed
  • Limit switches trigger the start and end points of each motion and the whole sequence is operated by failsafe push-to-run buttons, with an emergency stop immediately alongside


Let's talk more about retractable balustrades.

SCX Special Projects has earned a reputation for engineering, building and installing some of the most advanced handling systems.

With an unwavering focus on safety, our engineers still explore and deliver those innovative touches that have become the hallmark of an SCX solution.

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SCX Special Projects Ltd

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

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199