In 2014, the citizens of Fort Worth voted to approve the construction of Dickies Arena to expand the cultural district and complement the historic Will Rogers Coliseum. Capable of hosting nearly any kind of event – the new multi-purpose arena features unmatched amenities and accommodations to host the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, hockey games, concerts, conventions and private events.
An icon for Fort Worth, Dickies Arena opens to the community with a breathtaking plaza. Like the arena, this 3-acre space was designed in a Southwest Art Deco architectural style to pay homage to the city’s architecture and the region’s cowboy culture. Below the plaza is an 85,000-SF multipurpose event and equine building to house the animals for the rodeo. This building includes a warm-up arena that can be seen through a clerestory window from the plaza above. When not in use for the rodeo, the support building can be reconfigured for conventions and conference events.
As one of the most recognizable aspects of the arena, the roof posed a significant design challenge. The roof structure is a vaulted, oval-shaped dome supported by a tension ring along the base and a much smaller compression ring at the apex. Extensive post tensioning on the lower roof level works to offset the tension ring loads. Seven-foot deep post tensioned transfer elements were integrated into the tension ring to support the roof above and create a column free environment below.
It was imperative that the roof be an efficient, acoustically sound structure with a flexible rigging system for events. Walter P Moore utilized a custom digital workflow to facilitate complete interoperability between our modeling and analysis programs, which enabled full geometry manipulation of the models throughout the design process. Digital workflows were also leveraged to evaluate hundreds of thousands of potential rigging configurations to ensure the rigging grid would have enough capacity and flexibility to accommodate a wide variety of events.
At the size of nearly 3 football fields, the roof had to be assembled by raising individual sections which required temporary supports until the entire roof was in place. The fact that the roof is a dome added a level of complexity during construction, as each curved truss functioned as a beam until the dome was complete. This is a completely different load path than the final condition, requiring careful analysis of each individual member and connection during the temporary state.
Walter P Moore’s Construction Engineering team analyzed the structure and designed a complete erection sequence to ensure structural stability throughout the various stages of construction. Our team also provided a detailed analysis of the shoring towers, design of the required custom header system for the towers and design of the tower foundations. Walter P Moore’s efforts to provide efficient, constructible solutions brought the architects’ design and vision to life and allowed for a world-class facility.