Under Cover

Under Cover

July 2, 2021

PanStadia & Arena Management got the lowdown on the latest in stadium roofing from various industry experts including Kais Al-Rawi, Senior Associate and Senior Technical Designer with Walter P Moore.

How can the design of a roof and the materials used contribute to spectator comfort and how important is this when looking at the overall ‘fan experience’?
Stadia roofs are often the primary element protecting fans from environmental factors such as heat gain through the solar radiation, glare from direct sunlight, and protection from rain and snow. The structural and architectural design of a roof that addresses

these environmental factors is critically important in terms of achieving a unique and desirable fan experience. For example, we are seeing membranes such as ETFE gain popularity due to its light weight and transparency. It is crucial to integrate the design of such enclosure systems with the overall ambitions and systems of a project.

SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles is an exemplary case-study that integrates a variety of important parameters. Its long-span cable-net roof is clad with a series of picture frames with singleskin ETFE with a refl ective frit that balances heat-gain and transparency
providing protection while still clearly seeing the sky and clouds. It features a series of strategically positioned operable panels that vent out heat-build up in the roof – creating a comfortable naturally ventilated environment. Lastly, a grid of LEDs were integrated onto the roof membrane, providing a unique skyfacing digital videoboard.

Post pandemic, venues will be under huge pressure to maximise their event calendars. How important is the roof in ensuring the continuity of business for stadiums?
Stadium roofs that enclose the entire seating bowl and fi eld are becoming a key aspect in a venue’s versatility to host a variety of different events at any time of the year. They allow venues to be uniquely positioned in their cities as the only large-capacity location for any event type, rain or shine. Furthermore, naturally ventilated stadia with enclosed or semi-enclosed roofs have the advantage of lower operational costs and operational carbon footprints.

How can we improve the performance of enclosures in renovation projects?
The performance of a building enclosure is particularly important in fully enclosed sport venues. The thermal, acoustical and weather performance can have signifi cant impact on a number of parameters such as mechanical systems capacity and loads, fan experience and comfort, operations and maintenance, as well as acoustic impact to the surroundings. High-performance insulated glazing including interlayers, ceramic frits, low-e coatings, increased thermal insulation, enhanced roofi ng and waterproofi ng systems are all key options we investigate in renovation projects to improve building enclosure performance.

How can we reduce the carbon footprint of enclosures in new projects?
Embodied Carbon is becoming an extremely important aspect of sustainable design. Current projections estimate that in the next 30 years, embodied carbon will constitute 50% of the total carbon footprint of a project. In certain locations such as the Pacific Northwest, we are seeing the electrical grids decarbonise - which means embodied carbon becomes more significant and is locked in from day one of a project’s completion and cannot be optimized the same way mechanical and electrical systems can be. On several  projects, we are performing Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) for different options of structural and enclosure systems to advise architects and clients on the footprint of choices we make during design, making embodied carbon an important decision parameter in addition to cost.

This article was originally published in the 2021 2nd quarter issue of PanStadia & Arena Management