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Steel Design

The two steel structures I am going to talk about is the Beijing National Stadium,
otherwise known as "The Bird's Nest" and the new Cowboys Stadium. The Beijing National
Stadium is a steel structure with a price tag of $423 million dollars. Due to the stadium's outward
appearance, it was nicknamed "The Bird's Nest". The design was awarded to a submission from
the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron in April 2003. The design, which originated
from the study of Chinese ceramics, implemented steel beams in order to hide supports for the
retractable roof; giving the stadium the appearance of a "Bird's Nest".( See figure 1) The stadium
consists of two independent structures, standing 50 feet apart, a red concrete seating bowl and
the outer steel frame around it. In an attempt to hide the steel supports for the retractable roof,
required in the bidding process, the team developed the "seemingly random additional steel" to
blend the supports into the rest of the stadium. Twenty-four trussed columns encase the inner
bowl, each one weighing 1,000 tons. The retractable roof was later removed from the design after
inspiring the stadium's most recognizable aspect. The ground was broken in December 2003 and the
stadium officially opened in June 2008.
Beijing National Stadium was a joint project among architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de
Meuron of Herzog & de Meuron, project architect Stefan Marbach, artist Ai Weiwei, and CADG which
was lead by chief architect Li Xinggang. The structural engineer on the project was Arup. They decided
to eliminate the retractable roof, which was the original inspiration for the "nest" design. The removal of
the retractable roof helped to bring the project under the reduced construction budget of $290 million,
from an original $500 million. With the removal of the retractable roof, the building was lightened, which
helped it stand up to seismic activity; however, the upper section of the roof was altered to protect fans
from weather. 17,000 construction workers worked on the construction of this stadium and 10 workers
had died throughout construction. All 110,000 tons of steel were made in China.
The Cowboys Stadium was completed on May 29, 2009 and seats 80,000, but is expandable to
hold up to 112,000 through the use of standing areas. The stadium is the largest domed stadium in the
world, has the world's largest column-free interior, and the largest video screen hung from 20 yard line
to 20 yard line. The construction cost was $1.12 billion, making it one of the most expensive sports
venues ever built. Cowboys Stadium was designed by the Dallas-based architectural firm HKS. The
structural engineer for the project was Walter P. Moore.
Two structural steel arches, each spanning the entire 1,290 ft length of the stadium, frame the
end zones and come to rest on massive concrete abutments in the approach plazas. (See Figure 2) Each
arch reaches a maximum height of 300 ft. The structure also contains a retractable roof. The retractable
roof was designed by structural engineering firm Walter P Moore and the systems were implemented by
mechanization consultants Uni-Systems. A highlight of Cowboys Stadium is its gigantic center-hung
high-definition television screen.( See Figure 3) The largest in the world, coming in at 160 by 72 feet,
11,520-square-foot scoreboard. The weight of the scoreboard is 1.2 million pounds.
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Figure 1: Bird's Nest

Figure 3: Cowboy's Scoreboard

Figure 2: Steel Arches


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Works Cited

"File:Birds Nest at Night.jpg -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Web. 28 Sept. 2009.

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wik/File:Birds_Nest_at_Night.jpg>.

"File:DallasCowboysNewStadiumapril08.jpg -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Web. 28 Sept. 2009.

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:DallasCowboysNewStadiumapril08.jpg>.

http://imgs.sfgate.com/c/pictures/2009/08/22/sp-cowboys23_ph_0500507284.jpg