Title:
Stadium Riser Made Of Extruded Metal
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A modular seating riser for stadia, a set of structural modules for building the same, a kit and an assembly therefor, as well as to a method for building the same, are provided. More particularly, a set of structural modules for building a structurally sound modular seating riser on which seats of a bleacher-type stadium can be mounted are provided. The structural modules are an elongated metal extrusion. The set of structural module includes a first module having a female tensioned catch-connector provided along a lateral edge thereof, and a second module having a male tensioned catch-connector provided along a lateral edge thereof. The male and female tensioned catch-connectors have complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together, and forming, when interlocked together, a structural permanent joint.



Inventors:
Vincent, Richard (Westmount, CA)
Application Number:
13/063282
Publication Date:
07/14/2011
Filing Date:
08/17/2009
Assignee:
GROUPE CANAM INC. (Boucherville, QC, CA)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/741.2
International Classes:
E04H3/12; E04F11/035
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KENNY, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BakerHostetler (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
1. A set of structural modules for building a modular seating riser on which seats of a bleacher-type stadium are mounted, each of said structural modules being a metal extrusion having an elongated shaped body with two opposite lateral edges, the set comprising: a first module having a female tensioned catch-connector provided along at least one of the lateral edges thereof; and a second module having a male tensioned catch-connector provided along at least one of the lateral edges thereof, the male and female tensioned catch-connectors having complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together, the first and second modules being operable between an unassembled configuration in which the female and male catch-connectors are disconnected, and an assembled configuration in which the female and male catch-connectors are interlocked together and frictionally tensioned against one another to form a structural permanent joint.

2. The set of structural modules according to claim 1, wherein: said first and second modules have inner cellular sections defined by first and second space-apart walls interconnected by transversal ribs, the female catch-connector comprises a pair of inward female sloping-arms, each extending from a respective one of said first wall and said second wall inward a cellular section, said female sloping-arms sloping toward one another, each at a substantially identical first angle with respect to said first and second walls respectively, and the male catch-connector comprises a pair of outward male sloping-arms, each extending from a respective one of said first wall and said second wall outward a cellular section, said male sloping-arms sloping toward one another, each at a substantially identical second angle with respect to said first and second walls respectively, the second angle being inferior to the first angle for wedging the male catch-connector within the female catch-connector and each male sloping-arm having a male contact surface provided with a locking stub to engage a respective end of the female sloping-arm and lock the male catch-connector within the female catch-connector.

3. The set of structural modules according to claim 2, wherein each female sloping-arm has a female contact surface devised to engage with the male contact surface of a corresponding one of the male sloping-arms and wherein the end of each of the female sloping-arms comprises a blocking stub protruding from a surface opposite the female contact surface for interlocking with a corresponding one of said locking stubs of the male sloping-arms.

4. The set of structural modules according to claim 3, wherein the locking stub has a rounded surface to glide along the female contact surface.

5. The set of structural modules according to claim 1, wherein the female tensioned catch-connector extends substantially laterally with respect to the body of the first module and the male tensioned catch-connector extends substantially laterally with respect to the body of the second module such that when the first and second modules are in the assembled configuration, a substantially planar riser module assembly is formed.

6. The set of structural modules according to claim 5, wherein the substantially planar riser module assembly defines a floor section of the modular seating riser.

7. The set of structural modules according to claim 1, wherein the female tensioned catch-connector extends substantially perpendicularly with respect to the body of the first module and the male tensioned catch-connector extends substantially laterally with respect to the body of the second module such that when the first and second modules are in the assembled configuration, a substantially corner riser module assembly is formed.

8. The set of structural modules according to claim 1, wherein at least one of the structural modules is provided with at least one opening for receiving one or more seat fasteners to fasten one or more corresponding seats thereto.

9. The set of structural modules according to claim 8, wherein the at least one opening includes at least one slot oriented longitudinally with respect to the body of the structural module for adjustably positioning the seat fastener therealong.

10. A modular seating riser for mounting seat rows of a bleacher's type stadium, the modular seating riser comprising: at least a first and a second structural module, each of said first and second structural modules being a metal extrusion having an elongated shaped body with two opposite lateral edges, wherein: the first module has a female tensioned catch-connector provided along at least one of the lateral edges thereof; the second module has a male tensioned catch-connector provided along at least one of the lateral edges thereof, the male and female tensioned catch-connectors have complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together, and the first and second modules are operable between an unassembled configuration, in which the female and male catch-connectors are disconnected, and an assembled configuration, in which the female and male catch-connectors are interlocked together and frictionally tensioned against one another to form a structural permanent joint.

11. A modular seating riser according to claim 10, wherein the female tensioned catch-connector extends substantially laterally with respect to the body of the first module and the male tensioned catch-connector extends substantially laterally with respect to the body of the second module such that when the first and second modules are in the assembled configuration, a substantially planar riser module assembly is formed.

12. A modular seating riser according to claim 10, wherein: said first and second modules have inner cellular sections defined by first and second spaced-apart walls interconnected by transversal ribs, the female catch-connector comprises a pair of inward female sloping-arms each extending from a respective one of said first wall and said second wall inward a cellular section, the female sloping-arms sloping toward one another, each at a substantially identical first angle with respect to said first and second walls, and the male catch-connector comprises a pair of outward male sloping-arms each extending from a respective one of said first wall and said second wall outward a cellular section, the male sloping-arms sloping toward one another, each at a substantially identical second angle with respect to said first and second walls respectively, the second angle being inferior to the first angle for wedging the male catch-connector within the female catch-connector and each male sloping-arm having a male contact surface provided with a locking stub to engage a respective end of the female sloping-arm and lock the male catch-connector within the female catch-connector.

13. A modular seating riser according to claim 10, wherein an other lateral edge of at least one of the first and second modules is provided with a lock-connector, the modular seating riser further comprising: at least one third structural module having an elongated shaped body with a first and a second opposite lateral edge, a first lock-connector provided along the first lateral edge, the first lock-connector of the third module and the lock-connector of the other lateral edge of said at least one of the first and the second modules having complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together.

14. A modular seating riser according to claim 13, wherein said other lateral edges of both the first and second modules are each provided with one of said lock-connector and the third module comprises a second lock-connector provided along the second lateral edge thereof, the first lock-connector of the third module and the lock-connector of said other lateral edge of the first module having complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together and the second lock-connector of the third module and the lock-connector of said other lateral edge of the second module having complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together.

15. A modular seating riser according to claim 14, wherein the first and second lock-connectors of the third module both extend substantially laterally with respect to the body of the third module and the lock-connectors provided along the other lateral edge of each of the first and second modules extend substantially perpendicularly with respect to the body of the first module and the second module, respectively, such that when the first or the second module is assembled with the third module, a substantially corner riser module assembly is formed.

16. A modular seating riser according to claim 15, wherein the first and second modules have a top face opposite to a bottom face and wherein the lock-connector provided along the other lateral edge of the first module extends from the top face thereof whereas the lock-connector provided along the other lateral edge of the second module extends from the bottom face thereof such that when the first and second modules are assembled together and each of said first and second modules are also respectively assembled with one of said third module a substantially stepped riser assembly is formed with the first and second modules forming a floor section of one row of seats, the third module assembled to the first module forming a wall section of said one row of seats and the third module assembled to the second module forming a wall section of a preceding inferior row of seats.

17. A modular seating riser according to claim 16, wherein: the first lock-connector provided along the first lateral edge of the third module comprises a male tensioned catch-connector as defined in claim 12; the second lock-connector provided along the second lateral edge of the third module comprises a protruding flange; the lock-connector provided along the other lateral edge of the first module is a female tensioned catch-connector as defined in claim for receiving the male tensioned catch-connector of the third module; and the lock-connector provided along the other lateral edge of the second module is an inverted-U shaped overlapping joint-connector sized for nesting therein the protruding flange of the second lock-connector of the third module.

18. A modular seating riser according to claim 17, wherein the overlapping joint-connector comprises at least one guide stub for guiding therein the protruding flange of the third module.

19. 19-21. (canceled)

22. A method for building a modular seating riser on which seats of a bleacher-type stadium are mounted, the method comprising the steps of: (a) providing a plurality of sets of structural modules, as claimed in claim 1; (b) assembling the first and second modules of each set by interlocking, for each set, the female catch-connector of the first module with the male catch-connector of the second module, thereby forming a plurality of corresponding riser assemblies; and (c) connecting the plurality of said riser assemblies in a successive arrangement by mounting each riser assembly onto a preceding one of said riser assemblies.

23. A method according to claim 22, wherein the connecting of step (c) comprises: providing at least one third module, as claimed in claim 14; and connecting at least one successive pair of said riser assemblies via one of the at least one third module, by mating, for each of the at least one successive pair, the first lock-connector of the corresponding third module with the first module of a preceding riser assembly of said pair and the second lock-connector of the corresponding third module with the second module of a succeeding riser assembly of said pair.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to a modular seating riser for stadia, to a set of structural modules for building the same, to a kit and an assembly therefor, as well as to a method for building the same.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Known in the art are prefabricated or precast concrete grandstand riser sections. The majority of stadiums, both indoor and outdoor, utilize this type of construction to support their seating. The usual construction method utilizes a structural steel or concrete support structure, although other materials can be used. The supporting structure typically consists of vertical column elements that support sloping raker beams. The raker beam is erected at the appropriate slope matching the inclination of the grandstand and in turn supports the grandstand precast riser sections that are fixed to it. The raker beams are parallel in straight seating sections and are typically spaced at intervals between 25 to 40 feet but may be spaced at closer or wider distances. In the corners of most stadiums, the seating areas approximate curves by using straight precast riser segments. In these instances, the raker beams are not parallel and the spacing between the rakers is variable.

The precast riser sections are “L” shaped sections consisting of a relatively horizontal floor section and a vertical back section. The riser sections are designed to support both their own dead weight in addition to the weight of the spectators attending an event. The riser sections must also be designed to meet certain deflection and vibration criteria so that the spectators feel comfortable and safe from their elevated seat location. The horizontal section may be slightly sloped for drainage and to facilitate cleaning between events. This flat floor section creates the space for the seating area plus a walkway aisle in front of the seat and may also support floor mounted seat brackets. The vertical section forms the back of the seating area and generally has a seat bracket fixed to its surface. Today, most seats are back mounted to facilitate cleaning and maintenance between events. In order to minimize construction and erection time, the riser sections are often constructed as a double L or a triple L creating two or three rows of seating respectively.

Typical stadium seats require one or two vertical rows of bolts that attach the seat support plate to the back of the riser section. To accomplish this with concrete risers, first the location of each bolt has to be measured and marked, holes drilled, threaded anchors placed and epoxied into place prior to seat installation. For steel risers, bolt location must be measured and marked, holes drilled and one-sided bolts used to install the seats. In the case of SPS (Sandwich Plate System) risers, the same procedure is used as for concrete risers. Additionally in all of the above cases, if seats need to be relocated for any reason, such as to install handicap seating, new bolts have to be installed. Generally, epoxy anchored bolts are expensive and can only be installed in temperatures above freezing.

Precast concrete riser sections are relatively heavy and weigh in the vicinity of 100 pounds per square foot. Most North American design codes specify that the live load to be supported by the riser sections is 60 pounds per square foot. Thus the supporting structure must be designed to carry a larger proportion of dead load than live load resulting in a heavy support structure. Additionally, seismic lateral forces are calculated as a percentage of the dead load only, again resulting in large lateral forces to be resisted by the structure.

Large stadiums require hundreds of riser units. Precast concrete units must be poured in individual forms and necessitate cure time. This results in long prefabrication times in order to fabricate a sufficient number of units prior to commencement of erection. Also for large grandstands, the uppermost risers require a long crane reach to deposit the units. These heavy units require large crane capacities significantly increasing crane size and cost. Higher capacity cranes have slower travel speeds again increasing erection cost. Moreover, the constant tread width of such precast concrete units generally renders an inflexible geometry.

A small percentage of stadiums use prefabricated steel riser sections custom manufactured from steel plate components. Steel risers have the same form and shape as the precast concrete risers. Known to the Applicant is U.S. Pat. No. 7,047,699 (KENNEDY), which describes sandwich plate stepped riser made of upper and lower metal plates bonded together by an elastomer.

Also known to the applicant is U.S. Pat. No. 5,159,788 (MERRICK), which discloses a decking system for bleacher-type stadium seating, including a plurality of extruded metal formed filler boards, foot boards and riser boards, which may be interlocked with each other and with a stadium seating substructure. The substructure includes conventional angle members forming an L shaped support surface for receiving the various decking components.

Steel riser sections are much lighter using thin steel plates capable of resisting the overall load. However these plates must be locally reinforced to minimize local deflection and vibration forces resulting in more expensive riser sections than precast concrete risers. In some instances a secondary structure is required. In addition, steel riser sections require welding to fabricate the section. The welded joints cause distortion of the steel plates necessitating costly shop operations to correct these distortions.

Also known to the Applicant are die-formed aluminum riser sections. These sections are however limited in length and require a secondary steel structure to support the sections, resulting in cluttering of the space underneath the riser. This space is usually used for spectators to circulate within the stadium, and for restaurants and washrooms areas. Existing aluminum risers are therefore mostly used for small municipal stadiums.

A number of modular structures are known in the field of staircases. For example, known to the applicant is U.S. Pat. No. 3,608,256 (JEFFERYS), which discloses an adjustable step construction having cooperating projections and grooves on the riser portion in order to adjust the height of each step. Also known to the applicant is PCT patent application WO90/04692 (MOON et al.), which discloses a staircase made of a plurality of tread members which can be adjustably mounted in order to vary the angle of the staircase. Moreover, also known to the applicant is European patent application 82306775.6 (PERRY et al.), which is directed to a staircase cladding adapted to clad the nose and the riser of the step. However, these documents are considered to be irrelevant with respect to the field of the present invention since the structures described therein are not readily suitable for bleacher-type stadium seating risers provided in large scale grandstand riser sections.

Thus there is a need for an improved riser unit and/or seating riser that performs as well as a concrete riser from a spectator viewpoint, is lighter in order to reduce the weight of the supporting structure and the lateral seismic forces, that span across a considerably long distance, that can be manufactured and assembled in a relatively short time frame and that is lighter to reduce the equipment cost and erection time and effort.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An object of the present invention is to provide a riser section and/or riser assembly that satisfies at least one of the above-mentioned needs.

In accordance with an aspect of the present invention, the above object is achieved with a set of structural modules for building a modular seating riser on which seats of a bleacher-type stadium are mounted, each of the structural modules being a metal extrusion having an elongated shaped body with two opposite lateral edges, the set comprising: a first module having a female tensioned catch-connector provided along at least one of the lateral edges thereof; and a second module having a male tensioned catch-connector provided along at least one of the lateral edges thereof, the male and female tensioned catch-connectors having complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together, the first and second modules being operable between an unassembled configuration, wherein the female and male catch-connectors are disconnected, and an assembled configuration, wherein the female and male catch-connectors are interlocked together and frictionally tensioned against one another to form a structural permanent joint.

In the context of the present invention, the term “structural” means used in or necessary to building, capable of bearing the weight of a building structure or a part of I 0 a structure that bears a weight, or the structural piece used for such a part.

In the context of the present invention, the term “module” means a standardized, often interchangeable component of a system or construction that is designed for easy assembly or flexible use.

Moreover, the term “modular” means relating to or based on a module or modulus, or designed with standardized units or dimensions, as for easy assembly and repair or flexible arrangement and use.

In the context of the present invention, the term “extrusion” means a material having been pushed or drawn through a die of the desired cross-section, or an object or material produced by extruding (i.e. shaped by forcing it through a die).

In the context of the present invention, the term “catch-connector” means a fastener being configured to join with another complementary catch-connector and to interlock therewith once joined, typically by virtue of a hooking or blocking system formed between the two fasteners, mutually locking the catch-connectors together. Moreover, the expression “tensioned catch-connector” means that the catch-connector is biased and/or exerts a force, so as to form, once connected to the other complementary catch-connector, a structural joint, by virtue of a biasing force, a tension, a mechanical stress or a friction force created between the two catch-connectors.

In the context of the present invention, the term “interlocking” means uniting/joining closely as by hooking or dovetailing, or connecting the modules together so that these modules affect each other in motion or operation.

According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a modular seating riser for mounting seat rows of a bleacher's type stadium, the modular seating riser comprising: at least a first and a second structural module, each of the first and second structural modules being a metal extrusion having an elongated shaped body with two opposite lateral edges, the first module having a female tensioned catch-connector provided along at least one of the lateral edges thereof, and the second module having a male tensioned catch-connector provided along at least one of the lateral edges thereof, the male and female tensioned catch-connectors having complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together, the first and second modules being operable between an unassembled configuration, wherein the female and male catch-connectors are disconnected, and an assembled configuration, wherein the female and male catch-connectors are interlocked together and frictionally tensioned against one another to form a structural permanent joint.

Preferably, an other lateral edge of at least one of the first and second modules is provided with a lock-connector and the modular seating riser further comprises: at least one third structural module having an elongated shaped body with a first and a second opposite lateral edge, a first lock-connector provided along the first lateral edge, the first lock-connector of the third module and the lock-connector of the other lateral edge of the at least one of the first module and second modules having complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together. Preferably, the other lateral edges of both the first and second modules are each provided with the lock-connector. Preferably, the third module comprises a second lock-connector provided along the second lateral edge thereof, the first lock-connector of the third module and the lock-connector of the other lateral edge of the first module having complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together and the second lock-connector of the third module and the lock-connector of the other lateral edge of the second module having complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together.

Preferably, the first and second modules, in the above-mentioned embodiments, have inner cellular sections defined by first and second space-apart walls interconnected by transversal ribs and wherein the female catch-connector comprises a pair of inward female sloping-arms, each extending from a respective one of the first wall and the second wall inward a cellular section, the female sloping-arms sloping toward one another at a substantially identical first angle with respect to the first and second walls respectively, and the male catch-connector comprises a pair of outward male sloping-arms, each extending from a respective one of the first wall and the second wall outward a cellular section, the male sloping-arms sloping toward one another, each at a substantially identical second angle with respect to the first and second walls respectively, the second angle being inferior to the first angle for wedging the male catch-connector within the female catch-connector and each male sloping-arm having a male contact surface provided with a locking stub to engage a respective end of the female sloping-arm and lock the male catch-connector within the female catch-connector.

Preferably, the female tensioned catch-connector, in the above-mentioned embodiments, extends substantially laterally with respect to the body of the first module and the male tensioned catch-connector extends substantially laterally with respect to the body of the second module such that when the first and second modules are in the assembled configuration, a substantially planar riser module assembly is formed. Preferably, the substantially planar riser module assembly defines a floor section of the modular seating riser.

Preferably, the above-mentioned third module defines a vertical wall section (also referred to herein as “back section”).

Preferably, there is provided an elongated stadium riser section made of extruded metal and having an L shaped cross-section formed with a floor section and a back section extending substantially at a right angle to each other and a structural snap fit joint (i.e. the “structural permanent joint”) joining the floor section and the back section.

Preferably, the floor section has an outer edge and an inner edge and the back section has a top edge and a bottom edge. The inner edge of the floor section is preferably provided with either a male or a female snap fit joint component mating respectively to a female or male snap fit joint component provided at the bottom edge of the back section.

Still preferably, the riser further comprises an additional back section extending at right angle from the outer edge of the floor section in opposite direction to the back section described above, the additional back section being joined to the outer edge of the floor section with an overlapping screwed joint.

Preferably, the floor section comprises at least two floor subsections extending side-by-side to each other. The at least two floor subsections comprise an outer floor subsection, an inner floor subsection and a structural snap fit joint joining an inner edge of the outer floor subsection to an outer edge of the inner floor subsection.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, there is provided a kit for forming a stadium riser, the kit comprising: a plurality of elongated floor sections made of extruded metal, each floor section having an edge provided with either a male or female snap fit joint component; and a plurality of elongated back sections made of extruded metal, each back section having an edge provided with a female or male snap fit joint component mating to the corresponding male or female snap fit joint component of the floors sections.

According to yet another aspect of the invention, there is provided a method for building a modular seating riser on which seats of a bleacher-type stadium are mounted, the method comprising the steps of: (a) providing a plurality of sets of structural modules, as described above; (b) assembling at least the first and second modules of each set by interlocking, for each set, the female catch-connector of the first module with the male catch-connector of the second module, thereby forming a plurality of corresponding riser assemblies; and (c) connecting the plurality of said riser assemblies in a successive arrangement by mounting each riser assembly onto a preceding one of said riser assemblies.

Preferably, the connecting of step (c) comprises: providing at least one third module, as described above; and connecting at least one successive pair of said riser assemblies via one of the at least one third module, by mating, for each of the at least one successive pair, the first lock-connector of the corresponding third module with the first module of a preceding riser assembly of said pair and the second lock-connector of the corresponding third module with the second module of a succeeding riser assembly of said pair.

In the context of the present invention, the term “in a successive arrangement” means provided in a sequential or serial order.

In the context of the present invention, the term “mounting” means connecting or joining, either directly or by means of an intermediate or auxiliary element.

In the context of the present invention, the expression “preceding” means provided before in term of order, sequence or position and the expression “successive” means following in term of order, sequence or position.

Preferably, there is further provided a method for building a stadium riser, the method comprising the steps of: (a) providing a kit as described above; (b) snapping together a floor section and a back section forming an L shaped riser section; (c) stacking a plurality of L shaped riser sections by joining the outer edges of the floor sections to the top edges of the back sections with overlapping screwed joints.

The structural permanent joint (also referred to herein as “snap fit joint”) advantageously provides a structural connection so that the floor and back sections function as a single piece.

Preferably, the riser sections are produced from extruded aluminum. The snap fit joint is designed so that the snap fit interlocking joint components are extruded with a permanent offset such that after they are pressed together, permanent bending stresses in the arms of the interlocking components create a permanent lock.

Advantageously, this snap fit joint develops large friction forces sufficient to overcome any horizontal shear forces between the components. The large clamping force produces a structural connection enabling the components to function as a single piece in flexural bending. A simple nesting joint permits interconnection of the riser units in the field.

Moreover, the modular nature of the stadium riser provides flexibility in the design, with just a few different components, thereby allowing to provide a wide range of possible sizes and configurations of risers.

Objects and other advantages of the present invention will become more apparent upon reading of the following non-restrictive description of preferred embodiments thereof, given for the purpose of exemplification only, with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a stadium riser assembly, formed by a floor and a back section, according to a first preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a side view of an outer floor subsection of the stadium riser assembly of FIG. 1

FIG. 3 is a side view of an inner floor subsection of the stadium riser assembly of FIG. 1

FIG. 4 is a side view of a back section of the stadium riser assembly of FIG. 1

FIG. 5 is an enlarged side view of a structural snap fit joint of the floor subsections of the stadium riser assembly of FIG. 1

FIG. 6 is an enlarged side view of a structural snap fit joint joining the floor and back sections of the stadium riser assembly of FIG. 1

FIG. 7 is a cross section view of a modular stadium riser according to another aspect of the invention, the modular stadium riser being shown partially.

FIG. 8 is an enlarged view of an overlapping screwed joint of the modular stadium riser of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is an enlarged view of a female sloping-arm of a female snap fit joint component of the outer floor subsection of the stadium riser section of FIG. 1

FIG. 10 is an enlarged view of a male sloping-arm of male snap fit joint component of the inner floor subsection of the stadium riser section of FIG. 1

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a stadium riser assembly according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 is a side view of an inner floor subsection of the stadium riser assembly of FIG. 11.

FIG. 13 is a side view of an outer floor subsection of the stadium riser assembly of FIG. 11.

FIG. 14 is a side view of a wall section of the stadium riser assembly of FIG. 11.

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a stadium riser assembly according to yet another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 16 is a side view of a wall section of the stadium riser assembly of FIG. 15.

FIG. 17 is a perspective view of a modular seating riser, according to an embodiment of the present invention, the modular seating riser being shown partially.

FIG. 18 is a partial perspective view of a modular seating riser according to yet another embodiment of the present invention, the modular seating riser being shown partially.

FIG. 19 is a side view of an intermediate floor subsection of the modular stadium riser of FIG. 18.

FIG. 20 is a side view of an outer floor subsection of the modular stadium riser of FIG. 18.

FIG. 21 is a side view of a barrier section of the modular stadium riser of FIG. 18.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In the following description, similar features in the drawings have been given similar reference numerals. To preserve the clarity of the drawings, some reference numerals have been omitted, if they were already identified in a preceding figure. The embodiments, geometrical configurations, materials mentioned and/or dimensions shown in the figures or described in the present description are preferred embodiments only given for exemplification purposes only.

In the context of the present description, the expression “catch-connector” includes all types of connectors allowing to interlock with another complementary catch-connector and thus includes connectors of clip-type, snap-fit type and/or the like, as exemplified herein. Moreover, the expression “lock-connector” generally includes any type of fastening connector provided on a component and allowing a connection with another compatible component, including for example catch-connectors and snap-fit connectors, as well as other suitable fastening mechanisms, such as, for example, a nesting assembly as described herein. For these reasons, in the present description, the expressions “catch-connector” and “snap fit joint component”, or even “lock-connector” (in some cases) as well as any other equivalent expressions and/or compound words thereof may be used interchangeably, as can be easily understood by a person skilled in the art. Moreover, the expressions “snap fit joint”, “structural joint”, “structural permanent joint”, as well as any other equivalent expressions and/or compound words thereof, may be used interchangeably, as apparent to a person skilled in the art. Moreover, the expressions “male” and “female” may be used interchangeably, when referring to “catch-connector” and “snap-fit joint component”, as can be easily understood.

Also in the context of the present description, the expressions “stadium riser section”, “riser module assembly” and “modular seating riser”, as well as any other equivalent expressions and/or compound words thereof, may be used interchangeably. The same applies for any other mutually equivalent expressions, such as “back section”, “back riser”, “vertical section”, “vertical riser section” or even “third module” (in some cases), as well as for “screwed joint” and “nesting connection”, or even for “floor section”, “inner floor subsection”, “outer floor subsection”, “intermediate floor subsection”, “first module”, “second module” and “third module”, as the case may be. Similarly, the expressions “structural module assembly”, “level”, “row” and/or other mutually equivalent terms may also be used interchangeably when referring to the levels of a seating stadium riser, as apparent to a person skilled in the art.

In addition, although the preferred embodiment of the present invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings comprises components, and although the preferred embodiment of the structural modules, the modular seating riser and corresponding parts of the present invention as shown consists of certain geometrical configurations as explained and illustrated herein, not all of these components and geometries are essential to the invention and thus should not be taken in their restrictive sense, i.e. should not be taken so as to limit the scope of the present invention. It is to be understood, as also apparent to a person skilled in the art, that other suitable components and cooperations therein between, as well as other suitable geometrical configurations, may be used for the structural modules and/or modular seating riser according to the present invention, as will be briefly explained herein and as can be easily inferred herefrom, without departing from the scope of the invention.

Broadly described, there is provided a set of structural modules for building a structurally sound modular seating riser on which seats of a bleacher-type stadium are mounted, each of the structural modules being a metal extrusion having an elongated shaped body with two opposite lateral edges.

As better illustrated in FIG. 1, the set of structural modules 1 comprises a first module 3 having a female tensioned catch-connector 30 provided along at least one 5 of the lateral edges thereof, and a second module 6 having a male tensioned catch-connector 28 provided along at least one 8 of the lateral edges thereof, the male and female tensioned catch-connectors 28, 30 having complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together. The first and second modules 3, 6 are operable between an unassembled configuration, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, wherein the female and male catch-connectors 28, 30 are disconnected, and an assembled configuration, as shown in FIG. 1, wherein the female and male catch-connectors 28, 30 are interlocked together and frictionally tensioned against one another to form a structural permanent joint 19.

Preferably, there is provided a single elongated L shaped stadium riser section 15 consisting of a floor section 12 and a back section 14. The floor section 12 has an outer edge 20 and an inner edge 22 and the back section 14 has a top edge 24 and a bottom edge 26. The inner edge 22 of the floor section 12 is preferably provided with either a male 28 or a female 30 snap fit joint component (i.e. male and female tensioned catch-connector) mating respectively to a female 30 or male 28 snap fit joint component provided at the bottom edge 26 of the back section 14. Thus, the floor section 12 and back section 14 may correspond to the aforementioned first 3 and second modules 6, respectively, or visa versa, that is to say, the floor section 12 and back section 14 may alternatively correspond to the second 6 and first 3 modules respectively.

Preferably, still with reference to FIG. 1, the floor section 12 comprises at least two floor subsections 16, 18 extending side-by-side to each other. The at least two floor subsections 16, 18 comprise an outer floor subsection 16, an inner floor subsection 18 and a structural snap fit joint 19 (i.e. structural permanent joint) joining an inner edge 32 of the outer floor subsection 16 to an outer edge 34 of the inner floor subsection 18. Accordingly, the outer floor subsection 16 and inner floor subsection 18 may correspond to the aforementioned first 3 and second 6 modules, respectively, or visa versa, that is to say, the inner floor subsection 18 and outer floor subsection 16 may alternatively correspond to the second 6 and first 3 modules, respectively.

Preferably, the inner floor subsection 18 is connected via a snap fit joint 19 (i.e. structural permanent joint) to the outer floor subsection 16 at its outer edge 34 and to the bottom edge 26 of the back section 14 at its inside edge, which corresponds to the inner edge 22 of the floor section 12.

Still with reference to FIG. 1, the outer floor subsection 16 and the inner floor subsection 18 of the riser section 15 are preferably extruded in the form of cellular sections. The hollow cells 9 increase the transverse and longitudinal flexural strength of the outer and inner floor subsections 16, 18 by increasing their depth and sectional modulus while minimizing the area of extruded metal or aluminum.

Referring now to FIG. 4, a third module 13, such as a back section 14 may be extruded as a solid section, preferably made of aluminum. It may also be extruded as a hollow cellular section, as better illustrated in FIG. 11, similarly to outer and inner floor subsections 16, 18. The vertical riser section may be extruded as two or more separate pieces, each piece or subsection being a solid section or a hollow cellular section, also similar in form to the floor subsections 16 and 18. In such a case, the two back subsections may be joined together to form a back riser section 14. The back section 14 is usually a single piece but for steep seating areas, it may advantageously consist of a plurality of subsections, such as for example, upper and lower subsections. The above-mentioned third 13 module will be explained more in detail further below.

Any one of the structural modules 3, 6, 13 including the outer and/or inner floor subsections 16, 18, as well as the back section 14 may be provided in the form of a solid component (i.e. meaning not hollow or not cellular, in the context of the present description) or semi-solid component, as can be easily understood. Moreover, any one of the structural modules 3, 6, 13 may be provided with a single hollow cell, depending on the width of the module, as can be easily understood by a person skilled in the art. The cellular section(s) may contain insulation material in order to reduce sound transmission and reverberation. For example, such insulation material may include ultra lightweight concrete, which is fire resistant, sealing, thereby preventing leakage of fluids into the cavities (i.e. cells) and reduces vibration. Any other suitable insulating material or sealant may alternatively be used, as can be easily understood.

Referring now to FIGS. 1 to 6 and 11 to 14, the aforementioned first and second modules 3, 6, or even the aforesaid third module 13, may have inner cellular sections 9 defined by first and second space-apart walls 10 interconnected by transversal ribs 11. Moreover, the female catch-connector 30 preferably comprises a pair of inward female sloping-arms 44, each extending from a respective one of the first wall and the second wall 10 inward a cellular section 9. The female sloping-arms 44 slope toward one another, each at a substantially identical first angle 51 with respect to the first and second walls 10, respectively. Similarly, the male catch-connector 28 preferably comprises a pair of outward male sloping-arms 38, each extending from a respective one of the first wall and the second wall 10 outward a cellular section 9. The male sloping-arms 28 slope toward one another, each at a substantially identical second angle 50 with respect to the first and second walls 10 respectively. The second angle 50 is inferior to the first angle 51 for wedging the male catch-connector 28 within the female catch-connector 30. Moreover, each male sloping-arm 38 has a male contact surface 39 provided with a locking stub 40 to engage a respective end 45 of the female sloping-arm 44 and lock the male catch-connector 28 within the female catch-connector 30.

The above tensioned catch-connectors 28, 30 may be any connector or fastener configured to interlock with another complementary catch-connector, that is to say, it can not easily disconnect therefrom and further forming a structural joint, by virtue of a biasing force, tension or friction created between the two catch-connectors.

Thus, with further reference to FIG. 10, the structural snap fit joint 19 may comprise a male snap fit joint component 28 that is pressed into a receiving female snap fit joint component 30. The male component 28 has two sloping-arms 38, as previously mentioned, each sloping-arm being preferably of solid thickness. The end of each arm 38 has a locking stub 40 protruding on the contact surface 39, which engages with the female component 30. The locking stub 40 has a locking face 42 that is preferably perpendicular to the sloping-arm 38 and is of a length to ensure that the male component 28 cannot slide out once it has been installed, as better shown in FIGS. 5 and 6. Furthermore, the end of the locking stub 40 preferably has a rounded surface 52 to allow it to glide smoothly along the portion of the female component 30 that it contacts as the male component 28 is pressed in.

As previously mentioned, and with further reference to FIG. 9, the female component 30 also has two sloping-arms 44, each being preferably of solid thickness. The side of the female component 30 that is in contact with the male component 28 (i.e. “female contact surface” 47 is preferably smooth and straight. The end 45 of each arm preferably has a locking stub 46 (also referred to herein as the “blocking stub”) on the opposite side of the contact surface 47, which, as explained, corresponds to a side of the arm which engages with the male component 28. The outside edge of the locking stub face 48 is perpendicular to the sloping-arm 44 of the female component 30, for mating with the corresponding locking stub 40 of the male component 28.

As also mentioned, the slope angle 50 of the sloping-arm 38 of the male component 28 is made smaller than the corresponding slope angle 51 of the sloping-arm 44 of the female component 30. Thus a significant pressure is required to force the male component 28 into the female component 30. The difference in angle is such that after the locking stubs 40, 46 have come into contact, a large permanent pressure exists between the male 28 and female 30 components. This contact pressure develops large friction forces between the male 38 and female 44 arms resisting any movement in the longitudinal direction of the joint 19. This pressure is designed to be significantly larger than the horizontal shear forces developed by the longitudinal bending of the riser due to its dead load and anticipated live load. Additionally, the joint 19 acts as a moment connection in the transverse direction of the riser, thus exploiting the full depth of the inner 18 and outer 16 floor subsections. FIG. 6 shows a snap fit joint 19 being utilized to connect the back section 14 to the inner floor subsection 18. Similar joints would be used to connect the back subsections should they be produced in two or more pieces. Of course, other configuration of structural snap fit joint components could be used.

As previously mentioned, each female sloping-arm 44 preferably has a female contact surface 47 devised to engage with the male contact surface 39 of a corresponding one of the male sloping-arms 38 and the end 45 of each of the female sloping-arms 44 comprises a blocking stub 46 protruding from a surface opposite the female contact surface 47 for interlocking with a corresponding one of the locking stubs 40 of the male sloping-arms 38. The locking stub 40 preferably has a rounded surface 52 to glide along the female contact surface 47.

The above-described female sloping-arms 44 and male sloping-arms 38 may be provided in a number of various configurations, as can be easily understood by a person skilled in the art. Indeed, as exemplified in the embodiment illustrated at FIG. 1, each sloping-arm 38, 44 is preferably resilient, in order to be compressed during assembly, i.e. when sliding the male catch-connector 28 into the female catch-connector 30, and to further exert a biasing force against the corresponding opposite sloping-arm, when the male catch-connector 28 and female catch-connector 30 are assembled. It is to be understood that one of the sloping-arms 38, 44, for a given pair of complementary sloping-arms, may be substantially inflexible. Moreover, though in the exemplified embodiments, the sloping-arms 38, 44 of each catch-connector 28, 30 extend symmetrically with respect to the central axis defined between the sloping-arms 38, 44. Thus, it is to be understood that the sloping-arms 38, 44 of a given catch-connector may be asymmetrically disposed, in size and/or angle. Moreover, the above-described catch-connector 28, 30 may be provided with only one sloping-arm or more than two sloping arms and/or other similar components, without departing from the scope of the present invention, as can be easily understood by a person skilled in the art. Moreover, according to an embodiment of the present invention, with reference to FIGS. 11 to 14, the female component may be provided with a substantially solid sloping-arm. More particularly and as better illustrated in FIG. 12, according to this particular embodiment, the female sloping-arm 44 is formed by an inverted-V shaped protrusion extending along the corresponding wall 10 of the structural module 3, so as to form a notch which provides the above-mentioned end 45 of the female sloping-arm 44 for catching the male component 28. Similarly, the male component 28 may alternatively be provided with a substantially solid sloping-arm. Indeed, the male and female components may be provided in any suitable shape, size and configuration as long as they can be suitably engaged, locked and tensionally interconnected.

In view of the above, the female tensioned catch-connector 30 and the male tensioned catch-connector 28 may each extend substantially laterally with respect to the body of the corresponding module such that when the first and second modules 3, 6 are in the assembled configuration, a substantially planar riser module assembly 15 is formed, as better illustrated in FIG. 5. Such a substantially planar riser module assembly 15 preferably defines a floor section 12 of the modular seating riser 2. The substantially planar riser module assembly 15 may alternatively define a wall section 14 (also referred to herein as “back section”), as already mentioned.

Moreover, the female tensioned catch-connector 30 may extend substantially perpendicularly with respect to the body of the first module 3 and the male tensioned catch-connector 28 may extend substantially laterally with respect to the body of the second module 6 such that when the first 3 and second 6 modules are in the assembled configuration, a substantially corner riser module assembly 15 is formed, as previously mentioned, as exemplified in FIG. 6.

A similar substantially corner riser module assembly 15 may also be formed with a first module 3 having a female catch-connector 30 extending substantially laterally with respect to the body of the corresponding first module and the male tensioned catch-connector 28 extending substantially perpendicularly with respect to the body of the corresponding second module 6, as can be easily understood by a person skilled in the art. Indeed, the male 28 and female 30 catch-connectors may each extend or be oriented at any suitable angles with respect to the body of the corresponding module 3, 6, (for example, each at 45 degree angles) such that, when assembled together, a substantially perpendicular angle results, as can be easily understood. Typically, such a corner riser module assembly provides a wall section 14 or portion thereof, and a floor section 12 or portion thereof. Alternatively, such a corner riser module assembly 15 may provide a floor section 12 or portion thereof, with a barrier section 84, typically for a lowermost row of a modular seating riser, as exemplified in FIGS. 17 and 18, and as better explained further below.

Referring now to FIGS. 15 and 16, at least one of the structural modules 3, 6, 13, for example the above-mentioned third module 13, which corresponds to a vertical section 14 of the riser in this particular embodiment, is preferably provided with an opening 62 for receiving a seat fastener, such as a bolt, to attach a seat thereto, generally by securing the seat support plate to the vertical riser section 14. Preferably, the opening 62 includes a slot 64 (or “groove”) oriented longitudinally with respect to the body of the structural module 13 for adjustably positioning the seat fastener therealong. Preferably a pair of continuous slots 64 or grooves extend in parallel along the vertical section 14 of the riser module assembly 15, the pair of slots 64 being laterally spaced apart with respect to the vertical section 14 in order to receive upper and lower fasteners of a row of seats, each seat typically requiring one or two vertical rows of bolts to attach the seat support plate to the vertical riser section. The slots 64 may extends along the entire length of the structural module, as exemplified in FIG. 15, or they may be delimited within the structural module 13. Moreover, a plurality of slots 64 may be provided adjacently along the structural module 13, as can be easily understood. Furthermore, the above-described opening 62 and/or slot 64 may be provided, alternatively or additionally, along a floor section 12 of the riser 2, in order to provide fastening means to mount one or more seat to the floor section 12. The aforesaid first and second modules may each be provided with at least one opening 62 or slot 64, preferably to cooperate and provide, for example, a pair of longitudinal slots 64 along the vertical 14 or floor section 12, when assembled.

These slots 64 or openings 62 thus facilitate the installation of stadium seating or benches. As previously explained, typical stadium seats require one or two vertical rows of bolts that attach the seat support plate to the back of the riser section. Thus, a Tee bolt (also referred to as “T head bolt” or “planar bolt”) or other similar types of fastener may be installed in the slot with the Tee head being positioned in parallel with respect to the length of the slot and then rotated to keep it in place as the seat is installed. The seat or bench is slid to its correct location and the Tee bolt is then tightened. Seat configurations can thereby easily be changed, such as the mounting of a wider seat or placing of a bench for an obese person or the installing of a special seat or removing of seats for a handicapped person (for example, for a season ticket holder). Seat spacing can be changed by loosening the bolt and sliding the seat. The installation of seats using such a slot thereby, does not require any measuring, drilling or installation of an epoxied anchor, as generally required for seat installations on conventional stadium risers. Seats may thus be easily and quickly installed and uninstalled, resulting in time and cost savings. It is to be understood that a standard method of mounting seats may also be applied according to embodiments of the present invention.

Referring now to FIGS. 17 and 18, according to an embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a modular seating riser 2 for mounting seat rows of a bleacher's type stadium, comprising at least a first 3 and a second 6 structural module, as described hereinabove. Preferably, a plurality of sets of structural modules 1 is provided, each set being assembled from two or three structural modules 3, 6, 13, or subsections 16, 18, 90, so as to form a floor section 12a, 12b, 12c corresponding to a row of seats or a level of the modular seating riser 2. Each successive pair of floor sections 12a, 12b, 12c being connected, preferably by a third module 13 or wall section 14a, 14b, 14c, in order to interconnect each of the floor sections 12 and thus provide the multi-level modular seating riser 2.

More particularly, shown in FIG. 17, with further reference to FIGS. 19 to 21, is a three-level portion of a modular seating riser 2, according to an embodiment of the present invention. In this particular embodiment, the lowermost level corresponding to a first level 15a of the modular seating riser 2, is made of a floor section 12a having a first module 3a (i.e. inner floor subsection 18a) and a second module 6a (i.e. outer floor subsection 16) being connected via another module 6a forming an intermediate floor subsection 90a. Indeed, the intermediate floor subsection 90a is provided in the form of a cellular structural module, similar to the ones described herein, having a female catch-connector 30 along an inner edge 8′ thereof and a male catch-connector 28 along an outer edge 68′ thereof, in order to mate and interconnect with corresponding catch-connectors of inner floor 18a and outer floor 16a subsections, respectively, and form a permanent structural joint 19 along each lateral edge 8′, 68′ thereof. Moreover, in this lowermost level 15a, the outer floor subsection 16a is connected at a top face 78 thereof to a third module 13a, having the form of a vertical barrier section 84 being connected by a catch-connector joint 19. The inner floor subsection 18a is similarly connected at a top face 78 thereof to another said third module 13a, provided here in the form of a wall section 14a. In this embodiment, the wall section 14a is a solid, planar member, having a catch-connector 28 at a lowermost edge 26 for connecting to the first structural module 3a. The wall section 14a further defines a blade-like upper edge 24 which connects to the floor section 12b of a succeeding level 15b, via a nesting connection 36, as better illustrated in FIG. 7. Indeed, the blade-like edge 24 is received in an overlapping screw joint connector 56 provided along the outer edge 20 of the second module 6b (or outer floor section 16b) of the succeeding structural module assembly 15b (i.e. floor section 12b with wall section 14b), as better illustrated in FIG. 8. The aforementioned nesting connection 36 will be described more in detail further below.

Still referring to FIG. 17, the next structural module assembly 15b corresponds to the second level of the modular seating riser 2. This second level 15b comprises a floor section 12b being made of two structural modules 3b, 6b (outer floor subsection 16b and inner floor subsection 18b) and a third module 13b forming a wall section 14b similar to that of the first level 15a. The wall section 14b of this second level 15b is thus configured to connect to another floor section 12c of another succeeding level 15c.

Accordingly, the said another succeeding level (i.e. third level of the modular seating riser 2) corresponding to a third structural module assembly 15c (i.e. floor section 12c with wall section 14c), is connected to the wall section 14b of the second structural module assembly 15b at the second level. Similarly, this third level 15c also comprises a floor section 12c being made of two structural modules 3c, 6c (outer floor subsection 16c and inner floor subsection 18c) and a third module 13c forming a wall section 14c similar to that of the first 15a and second 15b levels. The wall section 14c of this third level 15c is also configured to connect to another floor section of a subsequent level assembly, however no such subsequent level is shown in FIG. 17.

Referring now to FIG. 18, there is shown another similar multi-level portion of a modular seating riser 2, according to another embodiment of the present invention. In this particular embodiment, the wall sections 14a, 14b and 14c are made of a cellular extrusion and are each further provided with a pair of slots 64 therealong, as previously described. Also, the third level 15c in FIG. 18 is shown partially, namely the outer floor subsection 16c having a catch-connector 28 for mating with another complementary catch-connector of another module (not illustrated).

The modular seating risers 2 shown in FIGS. 17 and 18 comprise a plurality of structural riser assemblies 15a, 15b, 15c in order to form a multi-level riser section 2. As can be easily understood, a plurality of floor sections 12, as described herein, are typically linked by vertical sections 14, in order to build the modular seating riser 2. Thus, the other lateral edge 66, 68 of the first module 3 and/or second module 6 is preferably provided with a lock-connector 53. Such a lock-connector 53 may include the above-described catch-connector 28, 30 (or snap fit component) or any other suitable fastening connector, such as the above-mentioned nesting connection 36.

Preferably and in the particular embodiments discussed herein, the vertical section 14 is provided by at least one of said third structural module 13, as mentioned above, having an elongated shaped body. The third module 13 or wall section 14 is provided with a first 70 and a second 72 opposite lateral edge, to connect, via a first lock-connector 74 provided along the first lateral edge 70 thereof, with one of the first 3 and second 6 modules. The first lock-connector 74 of the third module 13 and the lock-connector 53 of the other lateral edge 66, 68 of the first module 3 and/or second 6 module have complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together. For example, the barrier section 84 (i.e. third module 13a) described above and illustrated in FIGS. 17 and 18, has a male catch-connector 28 (i.e. lock-connector 74) along a lower edge thereof (i.e. first lateral edge 70a) for connecting with the outer floor subsection 16a (second module 6a) of the first level 15a of the modular seating riser 2. The upper edge 72a of the barrier section 84 is trimmed. Indeed, any of the structural modules described herein may be provided with a trim edge, that is to say, not provided with a connector. Indeed, the modular seating riser 2 or a portion thereof, when assembled, may comprise unattached or delimiting components, namely at the lowermost and uppermost levels thereof, as can be easily understood, which may or may not have such a trim edge.

As also exemplified, the above-described wall sections 14a, 14b, 14c (i.e. third module 13a, 13b, 13c) also each have a male catch-connector 28 (i.e. lock-connector 74) provided along a lower edge (i.e. first lateral edge 70a, 70b, 70c) thereof for connecting, in this case, with an inner floor subsection 18, (i.e. first modules 3a, 3b, 3c, respectively). Moreover, the illustrated wall sections 14a, 14b, 14c further comprise a connector 76 provided along an upper edge thereof (i.e. second lateral edge 72a, 72b, 72c for connecting with a succeeding floor section 12 (i.e. second modules 6b, 6c, respectively) of the modular seating riser 2. Thus, the third module 13 may comprise a second lock-connector 76 provided along the second lateral edge 72 thereof. More particularly, the first lock-connector 74 of the third module 13 and the lock-connector 53 of the other lateral edge 66 of the first module 3 have complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together. Moreover, the second lock-connector 76 of the third module 13 and the lock-connector 53 of the other lateral edge 68 of the second module 6 have complementary configurations for mating and interlocking together.

Preferably, referring further to FIGS. 11 to 14, the first and second lock-connectors 74, 76 of the third module 13 both extend substantially laterally with respect to the body of the third module 13 and the lock-connectors 53 provided along the other lateral edge 66, 68 of both the first and second modules 3, 6 extend substantially perpendicularly with respect to the body of the first module 3 and second module 6, respectively, such that when the first or the second module 3, 6 is assembled with the third module 13, a substantially corner riser assembly 15 is formed.

Though the above-described third module 13 typically corresponds to a vertical section 14, 84 of the modular seating riser 2 or to a portion thereof, and more particularly to a linking wall section 14, it is to be understood, that the above-described third module 13 may be used in any suitable configuration in cooperation with the other structural modules 3, 6, 13. Moreover, this third module 13 may be embodied by an assembly of submodules. More particularly, in the case where the third module 13 defines a riser wall section 14, this wall section 14 may include any suitable number of wall subsections, such that the resulting wall section 14 forms the above-described third module 13. The same applies to the assembly of first 3 and second 6 modules, as can be readily understood by a person skilled in the art. Indeed and for example, if the first 3 and second 6 modules define a floor section 12, it is to be understood, that they may be connected by any suitable numbers of intermediate floor subsection 90, in order to extend the floor section and/or increase structural support therein. As can also be easily understood, the third module 13 may alternatively correspond to another floor subsection 12, for example, with reference to FIGS. 17-18, the inner floor subsection 3a and the intermediate floor subsection 90 may correspond to the first 3 and second 6′ modules, respectively, while the outer floor subsection 16a may correspond to a third module 13. Moreover, any one of the above-mentioned lock-connectors 53 may include the above-described catch-connector or snap connector, male 28 or female 30, as can be easily understood by a person skilled in the art.

As described with reference to FIGS. 17 and 18, and with reference now to FIGS. 2, 3, 7 and 8, the first 3b and second 6b modules have a top face 78 opposite to a bottom face 80 and the lock-connector 53 provided along the other lateral edge 66b of the first module 3b extends from the top face 78 thereof whereas the lock-connector 53 provided along the other lateral edge 68b of the second module 6b extends from the bottom face 80 thereof. Thus, when the first 3b and second 6b modules are assembled together and each of the first 3b and second 6b modules are also respectively assembled with two of the third module 13a, 13b, a substantially stepped riser assembly 15 is formed with the first 3b and second 6b modules forming a floor section 12b of one row of seats. The third module 13b assembled to the first module 3b forms a wall section 14b of the said one row of seats and the third module 13a assembled to the second module 6b forms a wall section 14a of a preceding inferior row of seats.

In other words, the third module 13b or resulting vertical section 14b is preferably shaped and configured to fit over the innermost edge 22b of the floor section 12b (i.e. first module 3b) and to also fit under the outermost edge 20b of the floor section 12b (i.e. second module 6b, as better illustrated in FIG. 7. Moreover, the riser section 2 can be provided with an additional back section 14a extending at right angle from the outer edge 20b of the floor section 12b projecting in an opposite direction to the back section 14b, which corresponds to the above-described floor section 12, the additional back section 14a being joined to the outer edge 20b of the floor section 12b. More particularly, the floor section 12b is connected to a back section 14b at its outer edge 20b and to another a back section 14a of a preceding row, at its inner edge 22b.

As previously mentioned, the above-mentioned lock-connector 53, may be a catch-connector 28, 30, as previously described or any other suitable connector and/or fastener. Typically, the additional back section 14 is joined to the outer edge 20 of the floor section via a nesting connection 36, including for example, an overlapping screwed joint 36. More particularly, as better illustrated in FIGS. 8 and 16 to 18, the first lock-connector 74 provided along the first lateral edge 70 of the third module 13 comprises a male tensioned catch-connector 28, as described above and the second lock-connector 76 provided along the second lateral edge 72 of the third module 13 comprises a protruding flange 54, which may be plate-shaped as shown in FIGS. 4, 8 and 17 or cellular as illustrated in FIGS. 16 and 18. The lock-connector 53 provided along the other lateral edge 66 of the first module 3 is a female tensioned catch-connector 30 as described above, for receiving the male tensioned catch-connector 28 of the third module 13. The lock-connector provided along the other lateral edge 68 of the second module 6 is an inverted-U shaped overlapping joint-connector 56 sized for nesting therein the protruding flange 54 of the second lock-connector 76 of the third module 13.

Preferably, the second lock-connector further comprises a supporting ledge 86 extending substantially perpendicularly with respect to the body of the third module 13, toward an inner face 88 thereof, to provide further support for and/or fastening means with the corresponding floor section 12, as better shown in FIGS. 14 and 16. With reference to FIG. 8, the inverted-U shaped overlapping joint-connector 56 may comprise at least one guide stub 58 for guiding therein the protruding flange 54 of the third module 13, as well as a fastening assembly for fastening the third module 13 thereto. In this particular embodiment, the joint 36 includes a knife joint where a male component 54 slides directly into the female component 56. The female component 56 has the guide stubs 58 to effectively direct the male component 54 into its proper location. Vertical forces are transferred by contact bearing from the floor section 12 directly through to the back section 14. Self tapping screws 60, spaced uniformly along the length of the riser section, are drilled from the outside of the floor section 12 through the outer skin of the floor section 12 into the back section 14 developing the necessary horizontal shear force to resist the longitudinal bending of the riser due to its dead load and anticipated live load. The overlapping screwed joint 36 (i.e. nesting connection) is designed to be a joint that can develop horizontal shear between the two components and that can be easily assembled and completed in the field.

Preferably, longitudinal anti-skid flutes 92 are extruded onto the walking surface of the floor sections 12 to prevent slipping of pedestrian traffic, as better illustrated in FIGS. 11 and 15. Additionally, longitudinally fluted designs 94 are preferably extruded into the sections 12 adjacent and parallel to the joints 36 on the apparent side. The fluted designs 94 thereby elegantly hide the joints 36 and also allow the head of all screws 60 to have a flush finish with the surface of the outer edge of the floor section 12, akin to having a countersunk hole for the screws 60. Additionally, the decorative fluted designs 94 may be detailed to contain female joints that allow the male portion of a clamping tool to be inserted such that the clamping tool will assist in drawing both portions of the overlapping screwed joint 36 into contact.

The above-described modular seating riser 2 may thus be entirely assembled and mounted on site from disassembled structural modules, according to embodiments of the present invention, and/or with other additional modules. Alternatively, the above-described modular seating riser may be provided in semi-assembled portions (i.e. assembled in riser module assemblies 15). Indeed and for example, there may be provided a single-row configuration wherein one row of floor and wall section is assembled together, a double-row configuration wherein two rows are assembled, a triple-row configuration wherein three rows are assembled, a quadruple-row configuration wherein four rows are assembled, and/or any other configuration suitable for transportation and on-site assembly and mounting, as can be easily understood. Moreover, the above-mentioned modular seating riser portions and structural modules may be provided in a variety of lengths, as can also be readily understood. Moreover, the above-mentioned modular seating riser portions and/or kit of structural riser modules may be additionally provided with a stair section made of extruded metal or aluminum, typically for facilitating circulation across the riser. The stair section may be provided integral or assembled with the modular seating riser portion or separately, as can be easily understood by a person skilled in the art.

According to embodiments of the present invention, the above-described modular seating riser, structural riser modules and/or components thereof are preferably made of aluminum, namely for its anticorrosion properties and its ease of extrusion. Alternatively or additionally, the modular seating riser, structural riser modules and/or components thereof may be painted using a suitable paint or protected for fireproofing, finishing, shimming or insulating purposes. Preferably, the ends of each of the structural module is capped using a ultra lightweight concrete and/or any other suitable caulking. Moreover, the modular seating riser, structural riser modules and/or components thereof may be covered with any suitable cladding, as can be easily understood.

Although preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described in detail herein and illustrated in the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to these precise embodiments and that various changes and modifications may be effected therein without departing from the scope or spirit of the present invention.