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Georgia Dome

World's largest covered oval stadium, with fabric-covered Tenstar cable dome structure that spans 770 x 610 feet; 70,500 seats, fast track. 2,000,000 sf.

The Georgia Dome, designed and constructed within a 30-month period, is located in downtown Atlanta. The most innovative feature of the structure is the cable-supported Teflon-coated fabric roof, a milestone in the development of lightweight structures. The patented Tenstar Dome structure, the first of its kind to be built, adapts tensegrity geometry to the standard oval of stadium design. Home of the Atlanta Falcons football team, the Georgia Dome serves as a multipurpose structure for sporting events, trade shows, group meetings, multimedia concerts, political conventions, and other major public activities. ENR cited the project in its list of the century's top projects as a turning point in the application of cable roofs, fusing design theory and new construction techniques. Buckminster Fuller originally proposed using the repetitive interlocking triangles of tensegrity structures to cover large areas. In a Tenstar structure, triangulated tension cables and floating compression posts are combined with stretched fabric membranes in hyperbolic paraboloid configurations. The challenge for engineers was to develop constructible details and maximize their repetition for economy, despite the complicated geometry. The scale was also a challenge. The nine acres of hyperbolic paraboloid fabric sections that cover the Georgia Dome were clamped to the cable structure on site. Structural components, such as the node weldments, steel pipe posts, steel strand bridge-type cables, and concrete stands, were prefabricated, saving site set-up time and more than a million dollars.

There isn't a bad seat in the house. The roof structure's web of posts and cables is anchored above eye level to a concrete cast-in-place compression ring, 2,300 feet in circumference. The ring floats on bridge-type pot-bearing pads and is supported by concrete columns cantilevered 52 feet in the air from the upper deck, which is part of the basic superstructure frame. The structure is easily converted to other uses from the network of catwalks that form part of the roof structure. Despite the airy and festive atmosphere created by the tent-like roof, the impression is one of permanence and security. Minimal light is needed for daytime use due to the translucency of the Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric roof, and at night the dome glows, creating a radiant landmark visible from all parts of the city.

Completion Date: 1992
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Owner or Client: Georgia World Congress Center Authority
Prime Consultant(s): Heery International; Rosser Fabrap; TVS

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