New Life for an Old Soldier: Rehabilitation of Chicago's Soldier Field


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Title: New Life for an Old Soldier: Rehabilitation of Chicago's Soldier Field

Author(s): Gary J. Klein

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 128


Appears on pages(s): 473-484

Keywords: columns (supports); corrosion; foundations; rehabilitation; reinforced concrete; repairs; stadiums; Construction

Date: 11/1/1991

Soldier Field, located on Chicago's lakefront, is one of the most historically significant buildings in the city. Opened to the public in 1924, the stadium features classic Roman colonnades above the main stands on each side of the playing field. Sixty years of exposure to harsh northern climate took its toll on the reinforced concrete structure. The tread-and-riser system was deteriorating due to reinforcement corrosion and freeze-thaw exposure. Also, ground water fluctuations accelerated the deterioration of the highly permeable concrete at the base of the columns. A major rehabilitation effort was started in the early 1980s. The concrete frames were strengthened and the stands were reinforced with an overlay of latex-modified concrete. The overlay system was designed to support its own weight, the weight of the original stands, and the expected live load. The underside of the structure was repaired with shotcrete. Circularly reinforced collars were installed at the deteriorated column bases, and the existing wood pile foundations were tested to verify their capacity to support the additional dead load. The repairs are holding up very well after 10 years of service.