Structural Design of the Arch and Roof of Wembley Stadium

Kourosh Kayvani, PhD, FIEAust, CPEng 
Aurecon, Sydney, Australia

ROOF DESCRIPTION

The aim of the new Wembley Stadium was to design and build a state-of-the-art national stadium, unlike any other in the world. The new stadium, with its elegant exposed steel structure arch, is an international icon as was the old stadium with its twin towers which was built in 1923.

The design brief required the roof not to cover the playing field which lead to one unique aspect of the roof in that it partially retracts over the seats to allow the daylight to reach all points of the pitch and thus a shadow-free playing field.

The retractable roof is formed by seven separate independently driven roof panels totalling 15,000 sqm that move in a parallel motion to the south as they "open" and stack on the top of one another when in a fully "open" position.

With the retracting roof panels all moving to the south, the roof design exploits the opportunity to have a tall, structurally efficient structure on the north side to support the north and south roofs. The solution was to have an elegant and structurally efficient arch which spans the entire width of the stadium's seating bowl (Figure 1).

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Rio Tinto Stadium

Entrant:             Structurflex Ltd - Engineering Fabrication Installation
Location:            Sandy - Salt Lake City Utah USA
Client:                Salt Lake County - Utah & Real Salt Lake
Architect:           Rossetti Architects
Struct. Eng.:       Wade Design Engineers & Wayne Rendely PE
Builder:              Turner Construction
Fabricator:          Structurflex

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Nelson Mandela Bay Multipurpose Stadium

Entrant:              MakMax Australia - Designer
Location:             Prince Alfred Park - North End Lake - Port Elizabeth South Africa
Client:                 Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality
Architect:            GMP Architects
Struct. Eng.:        Schlaich Bergermann & Partners

Others:               MakMax (Installation)
Builder:              Grinaker / Interbeton JV
Fabricator:          MakMax Australia

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Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium roof in Delhi, India.

Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (JNS) was originally built in 1982 in honour of India's first Prime Minister. Mr. Nehru is credited as the founder of modern India through political and social reform. In preparation for the upcoming 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi this facility is receiving a dramatic update. The crowning achievement to the stadium's rebirth will be the tensile membrane roof, supported by a vast cable net. LSAA members  MakMax were awarded the contract to supply and install an ambitious fabric and cable roof design, the structure is now near completion with 50 of the 88 fabric panels installed. Schlaich Bergermann & Partners are the structural engineers.

Chepauk Stadium, Stage One - India

This project was ambitious from the beginning; a large scale elevated cover over three grandstand seating structures presented a few structural challenges.

The purpose as with many tensile membrane projects was a combination of shade and weather cover. Each seating section required these basic needs met while maintaining a uniform style and aesthetic appeal through out. Our client, The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, requested minimal connections to the supporting grandstand structure, leaving more space beneath for spectator seating.

The project was designed to create a unique feature to the venue. Often large scale tension membrane roofing contribute a large amount to the look and feel of a venue, it’s a prominent feature and one that needs to be eye-catching and unique.

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Metricon Stadium - Carrara, Qld. 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

The Carrara Stadium was originally built in the late 1980’s and played host to a number of events however the venue has traditionally been a football ground. The decision to redevelop the site came as a welcome change to many sporting fans. The redevelopment is also in line with the Queensland government’s bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The newly named and revamped Metricon Stadium is built to accommodate a Australian Rules football oval, world standard cricket oval, provision to allow future installation of an athletics field and international standard soccer field including all the associated corporate, media and player facilities. The Queensland Government funded project secures a future for sport of all kinds in the region, opens the possibility to world class soccer coming to the region as well as other major national and international sporting events.

As with any world class stadium the design incorporated a tensile membrane roof component. Covering 70% of the seating capacity at the venue this roof is a major part of the facilities function and aesthetics.

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