Reliant Stadium - A New Standard for Football


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Title: Reliant Stadium - A New Standard for Football

Author(s): L. G. Griffis, Aa. Wahidi, and M. C. Waggoner

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 213


Appears on pages(s): 151-166

Keywords: composite construction; composite truss; fabric structures; high-strength concrete (HSC); long-span roof; mass concrete; mat foundation; retractable roof; soil-structure interaction; supercolumn; supertruss; temperature effects

Date: 5/22/2003

Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas will he the first retractable roof football stadium in the United States. Like the Astrodome before it, this new stadium will represent the state-of-the art in stadium design, hosting not only a new NFL football team, but also the renowned Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The structure for Reliant Stadium incorporates several unique structural concepts to make it economical and yet still support the architectural design. The giant supertrusses that span the sidelines at each side of the stadium support the retractable roof structure. The gentle arch-shaped bottom chord was dictated by architectural sightlines and required a rigid frame action with its supporting supercolumns. In addition, the supertruss was designed to be a composite steel/concrete element for economy. The concrete top chord serves as support for the rails of the retractable roof. The composite supertrusses are believed to be the largest ever constructed in a building structure. Structural analyses that provided envelope solutions to account for the variation in soil and concrete stiffnesses were undertaken to properly design the supertrusses, supercolumns and the mat foundations that support them. A wind tunnel study was undertaken to accurately predict the design wind forces from Gulf Coast hurricanes. Special precautions were taken to control mass concrete temperature effects in the placement of the mat foundations for the supercolumns. The complete structural system and the details of its design are described in the paper.