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Stadium roofs uncovered: Designing long term value


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A stadium’s roof is key to designing for long-term value, and stadium owners are increasingly using roofs to breathe new life into their assets. Here Aurecon’s sports experts discuss the design considerations for stadia roof types and share insights from owners, athletes, spectators and architects.

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Stadium roofs uncovered: Designing long term value

  1. 1. Stadia roofs (un)covered Designing long-term value
  2. 2. Stadium owners are increasingly using roofs to breathe new life into their assets. There are many benefits for owners, athletes, and spectators alike in having a stadium roof.
  3. 3. So what do the stakeholders say?
  4. 4. Stadium operators Photo: Adelaide Oval, Australia. Aurecon delivered the Western Grandstand roof, which is amongst the lightest and most elegant in Australia. “Having a roof is one of our greatest assets in terms of flexibility. In my opinion, a roof outweighs the benefits of open air.” “I can extend the usage to all weather sports and more diverse entertainment like rock concerts which need some protection from the elements all year round.” Insight
  5. 5. Athletes “It’s probably [a] better [experience] when it’s light and open, but in winter when it’s cold it’s better having the roof on.” “A roof is a good idea to have the best facility. I enjoyed playing at Etihad more than the MCG because it was always going to be dry.” “I have played in a stadium where the roof can close and that in itself is a unique experience – something you remember.” Photo: Forsyth Barr Stadium, New Zealand. The key challenge was growing strong, healthy turf under a fixed roof. Insight
  6. 6. Spectators “Being under a closed roof doesn’t feel overly natural, particularly during the day.” “I’ll just watch the event on TV if a lack of shading, uncomfortable temperatures and humidity, or a windy environment will ruin the experience.” “I think if you have good seating, good visibility, and from a weather point-of-view you have that opportunity to close the roof if you need, that is a great option.” Insight Photo: Etihad Stadium, Australia. A naturally ventilated stadium under a fully retractable roof.
  7. 7. Spectators Photo: Wembley Stadium, England. Aurecon pioneered the use of BIM technology in the arch and roof design and documentation. “Wembley has an arch that they light up during the games and Sydney Football Stadium has the curved roof – they’re quite grand architectural statements that make a stadium iconic.” “Getting wet isn’t a deal breaker for me, but it would be for my wife and the kids.” Insight
  8. 8. Architects “The roof is one of the enduring images of stadiums. The iconic aerial panorama of a stadium so often shown on TV with the city in the background is why it is important to ensure that the design of a roof is arresting and distinctive.” Insight Chris Paterson, Senior Principal, Populous A roof of a stadium is designed to the following criteria: • creates a visually coherent built form, sensitive to its context; • provides a roof design that is well-integrated with the built form; • contributes to an exciting, intimate atmosphere and memorable experience within the Seating Bowl; • utilises an optimal and elegant engineering solution; • exhibits a strong civic presence; • creates a distinctive character and identity; • ensures high quality natural light within the Seating Bowl; and • integrates sports lighting, engineering services and access within roof form that is efficient and attractive.
  9. 9. “Stadia are designed for events; and successful events are key to a sustainable stadium asset! Fans should WANT to come to an event…their comfort is key…roofs influence safety; thermal comfort etc. But you need the right roof, fit for purpose….” Professor Kourosh Kayvani Aurecon Global Sports Leader AURECON ON STADIA ROOFS
  10. 10. What is the best roof for you? Aurecon can help determine the best roof design to realise the benefits sought.
  11. 11. 1. Form and geometry: Integration of structure and architecture, linking the bowl to the roof. Iconic design. View of play and scoreboard. 2. Weather protection: Turf health vs minimising shadow effects vs sun and rain protection. Drainage. 3. Material: Weight, cost, speed, procurement, translucency, acoustic performance 4. Wind: Strength, stability, vibration, environmental effects 5. Fixed vs retractable roofs: Cost vs flexibility 6. Budget, Programme and Buildability: Steel procurement, roof and bowl construction erection inter-dependency, access/cranage 7. Safety: Safety in design, maintenance, operability 8. Sustainability: Roof-mounted photovoltaic arrays, water harvesting, carbon neutrality 9. Movements and tolerances: Pre-cambers, pre-sets, set-highs, interface management 10. Services integration: Integration and concealment of building services into the roof structural form All of these contribute to deciding which roof system to use 10 design considerations
  12. 12. What are the different types of roofs?
  13. 13. Etihad Stadium, Australia A striking example of a long span roof structure is the fully retractable version on Melbourne’s 55 000 seat Etihad Stadium. One of Australia’s leading multi-purpose venues catering for major sport and entertainment events, its natural turf is maintained in a healthy condition through the large opening of the stadium’s roof which takes only eight minutes to close. 200 metre span fixed and moving roof. Roof steel weight is 70 kilogram per metre square. Roof systems Long span
  14. 14. TEDA Soccer Stadium, China The cantilever construction used on the TEDA Stadium allows for overhanging structures without external bracing, saving both space and cost. It ensures that no supports will block views of the field. 29 metres by 125 metres roof span 50 metres high curved trussed masts Roof systems Cantilever
  15. 15. Wembley Stadium, England The elegant arch of the iconic Wembley Stadium graces the skyline from over 20 kilometres away. Aurecon’s innovative engineering of the 315 metre span arch and the roof fulfilled the architect’s inspiring concept of a slender exposed steel structure. 315 metre span arch Roof steel weight is 125 kilograms per square metre Roof systems Cable-stayed
  16. 16. Perth Stadium concept, Australia Steady technological progress has increased the popularity of fabric-roofed structures. The low weight of the materials makes construction easier and cheaper than standard designs, especially when vast open spaces have to be covered. Acrylic glass stabilized by steel cables Roof systems (Tensegrity) Ring Scheme Proposed bid design for the Perth Stadium.
  17. 17. Margaret Court Arena, Australia Retractable roofs require clever design so they can move hundreds of thousands of kilograms of steel, glass, cladding and ceiling material, and mechanical and electrical services in a matter of minutes. Very few are alike, and each one has their own support, traction and control systems that enable the roof to safely and reliably fold back, retract or slide off the top of each other in order to expose the area they cover. Roof systems Retractable
  18. 18. Wembley roof Wembley uses nested panels that partially retract over the seats to allow the daylight to reach all points of the pitch for the longevity of the natural grass and provision of a shadow-free playing field. The seven separate roof panels move in a parallel motion to the south as they open. They stack on top of one another when in a fully open position. The roof design exploits the opportunity to have a tall, structurally efficient structure on the north side to support the north and south roofs without interfering with the moving panels themselves.
  19. 19. Stadium roofs Future Proofing Photo: Perth Arena, Australia. Perth Arena incorporates a retractable roof than can open and close in 14 minutes. “Particular care needs to be taken when retrofitting a roof to an existing stadium with sports light towers. Infill lighting may be required due to shadowing on the near edges of the playing surface. Specialist sports lighting modelling and surveys of the site can predict and advise on required adjustments.” Charlee Dare, Senior Engineer, Aurecon The potential to add a roof can be incorporated into the design but left out of initial construction to ‘future proof’ further development of the facility. ‘Re-lifing’ of a stadium by adding a roof is a route with significant sustainability benefits: you keep and add to what you built originally, as opposed to demolishing and rebuilding.
  20. 20. Creating a long-term asset is key, and so stadium owners should carefully consider the business case for a roof, construction environment, and roof system in consultation with an experienced team. Aurecon’s expertise at building and analysing simulated models enables our engineers to overcome the unknowns in an unconventional design, and ensure it meets the core objectives of safety, strength, durability and serviceability. In essence, we can help take a step into the future by testing a roof and de-risking it before it is built, without compromising its technical integrity. Stadium roofs (un)covered
  21. 21. Kourosh Kayvani Global Sports Leader +61 2 9465 5592 Stephen Logan Built Environment Leader, Perth +61 8 6145 9474 Read more on our website Contact us