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The Astrodome The First Domed Stadium

2180 words - 9 pages

The construction of a sports stadium is a long, drawn out process that requires the involvement of a large amount of people. A finished stadium must incorporate a unique design for it to stand out as a professional sports stadium. And that is exactly what was accomplished in the construction of the Astrodome. The Astrodome became the world's first air-conditioned domed stadium for football and baseball; a construction feat that would put the city of Houston on the sports map.There are several factors that determine how and where a stadium must be constructed. The first step in the construction process would be to acquire a parcel of land large enough to accommodate a domed stadium. The land for this stadium was acquired by a Judge Roy Hofheinz, a wealthy Houstonian political figure. Hofheinz had the dream of building a stadium that would bring major league baseball to the city of Houston, and he was rich and prominent enough to build a stadium that could start a major league baseball franchise in Houston.The main construction plan of the Astrodome was to build a stadium in which baseball could be played inside. The reason Hofheinz wanted an indoor stadium was because Houston weather is very hot and very humid in the summer, the main season for baseball. An indoor air-conditioned stadium would mean comfort for the players and the fans. Hofheinz was inspired to build a domed stadium after seeing the Palazzeto dello Sporto, a domed stadium in Rome that used lamella trusses to span the distance of the stadium. The structure of the 208 foot tall Astrodome also uses lamella trusses to span its 712 foot diameter, much like that of the Palazzeto dello Sporto in Rome.The Astrodome was one of the largest domed structures at the time it was constructed. A domed roofed was chosen because it would be one of the only methods that would be able to span the field and stands. Other types of roofs require columns and columns and baseballs field s do not work to well together. The dome itself has an outside diameter of 641 feet 8 inches and a total height of 208 feet tall. Lamella trusses five feet deep frame the roof, and a total of 2,150 tons of steel was used to frame the 350,000 square feet of lamella trussing. A 376-ton tension ring, which is a support ring that resists the outward force pushing against the lower sides of a dome, was used on the Astrodome.The large size of the Astrodome meant it would be susceptible to live loads such as wind. Roof Structures, Inc. decided to set up a research project to analyze mathematically the complex framed dome and then to build a test model to verify the analysis. The project verified that the dome would be able to span the length required. The also put through rigorous tests that would evaluate how the Astrodome would react to occasional hurricanes that are prevalent in the Houston area. Dr. G. R. Kiewitt of Roof Structures, Inc. was the one who devised the idea of putting a model through a wind tunnel test. The model...

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