Smarter Stadia

03 November 2021
Q2 revit

Originally published in the 3rd quarter 2021 issue of PanStadia & Arena Management.


Sports venues worldwide are using new technology in the post-pandemic era. Feature writer Steve Traiman gets insight from key U.S. providers Idibri, Walter P Moore & ME Engineers.

Architects and engineers are increasingly using Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Virtual Reality (VR) in the AEC process. ‘Smarter tools for smarter stadia’ is the mantra being adopted by stadium designers as they look to the future.

Technology Adoption
Aaron White, Senior Principal and Director of Digital Practice at engineering firm Walter P Moore, said that technology adoption is still accelerating and that is readily apparent in the design and construction of stadia.

He said: “Teams are pushing technology to realise improved designs, faster, and with less risk. In turn, this leads to more efficient facility operations and better fan experiences.

“From day one, designers are using data-rich BIMs hosted on cloud-based portals to share information and communication visually in response to this technology growth. Teams are integrating those systems into the overall design earlier in the process. Technology hardware is located intentionally with the deliberate routing and is coordinated fully with structural detailing to not impact the architectural design or fan experience.“

White said VR is commonplace as hardware costs have dropped dramatically and software is faster and more functional.

He said: “For the new Nashville Fairgrounds Stadium, opening next year for the MLS Nashville FC, designers accelerated decision-making and coordination through regular VR-enabled meetings.

“Project teams are also knocking down traditional silos to accelerate start of construction. On the 20,000-seat Q2 Stadium that opened in July for the MLS Austin (Texas) FC team, Walter P Moore used an innovative technology-enabled process developed in-house to rapidly deliver the structural contract drawings and the fabrication-ready Tekla model for structural steel in parallel. This saved roughly 12 weeks from the schedule and eliminated preconstruction Requests For Information (RFIs).

“In the field, contractors are intelligently tracking construction progress. Combined with inexpensive 360-degree cameras, maturing AI-equipped solutions such as OpenSpace or Reconstruct can create digital timelines of construction. The timelines are helpful for construction activities and facilities management. The technology can help create compelling assets for use on social media, giving fans behind the scenes previews of the fi nished product. In short, technology is now a driver for nearly all design and construction activities from the very beginning through Opening Day.”

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