Every August for the US Open, Arthur Ashe Stadium hosts elite tennis athletes, crowds of fans, and sponsors for a two week period. At 23,771 seats, Ashe Stadium is the largest tennis stadium in the world. It was originally designed in 1997 without a roof. Rain hindered play during the US Open for five consecutive years, causing the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to find a solution. The free standing structure supports four catenary trusses forming the framing system that supports the roof, each spanning 460 feet to form the opening of the retractable panels, weighing 1 million pounds each. The outcome was an aesthetically pleasing iconic structure giving the appearance of being an integral part of the original stadium. Morgan Kinetic Structures (MKS) provided all the design calculations, design manufacturing engineering, manufacturing, automation and level II interface, factory acceptance testing design and implementation, installation supervision, final commissioning, and ongoing operations and maintenance. As the roof opens and closes it’s what you don’t see that’s the most fascinating. Computers keep tabs on 4 dozen sensors simultaneously tracking not only the precise movement of the roof down to +/- 1/8” of skew, wind speeds, seismic activity, motor speed, torque, voltage, live video and more. Engineered to close in less than 7 minutes, it is the fastest retractable roof ever built.
The project utilized our AWS D1.1 certifications, our thermal stress relieving capabilities, our FEA modeling, and our tight tolerance fabrication and machining capabilities to fractional thousandths of an inch. Project delivered on schedule utilizing cloud based collaboration and scheduling software.