The Rogers Centre, originally named SkyDome, is located in downtown Toronto near Lake Ontario. Situated at the base of the CN Tower, the visually captivating dome stands 31 stories tall and covers 11.5 acres. (CITE 1) Aside from its physical dominance, the dome is an architecturally interesting and significant structure because it was the world’s first stadium with a fully retractable roof. Furthermore, the multi-purpose building is very important to the city of Toronto because the venue has accommodated over 50 million people attending thousands of events since it opened just less than 25 years ago in June of 1989.
This report will begin by outlining the history of the dome that began ...view middle of the document...
Two years later the international design competition for a new domed stadium and site selection began. A technical review committee narrowed the bids down to twenty and asked for more detailed designs for those. The group then reduced the list to four and began estimating costs. The final bids came down to the two with the lowest estimated cost. The difference in cost between the two bids was not significant, but the differences in the roof designs of the two remaining contenders were very important to the committee. Crang and Boake’s stadium folded into a bow-tie-shaped arch over the center of the stadium’s field casting significant shadows. (CITE A) In contrast, EllisDon Construction along with Architect Roderick Robbie and engineer Michael Allen’s bid included a roof design that exposed the entire field and the majority of the seats in the stands to the sky. Robbie and Allen designed a dome with a fully retractable roof, which would make it the first of its kind in the world.
Fig. 1 Model of the dome submitted to the decision committee by Roderick Robbie and Michael Allen
From the over 200 designs entered in the competition, Architect Roderick Robbie and structural engineer Michael Allen became the faces behind the winning concept. Robbie’s small firm was catapulted from obscurity into the local and international spotlight. (CITE6) Robbie and Allen’s design was chosen by the committee because it provided the largest roof opening and the technology seemed workable. Although many doubted that the small group had the capability to handle the ambitious project, almost 25 years since it first opened, the success of the progressive, architectural design has been proven.
Although multiple locations were considered including, Exhibition Place, Downsview, Yonge Street and Highway 7 in Richmond Hill, beside Woodbine Racetrack in Etobicoke, and York University, the railway lands at the base of the CN Tower were selected as the site for the dome. The location was chosen for its excellent rail and transit connections as well as for its potential to become central to the plan known as CityPlace to revitalize the downtown area.
Fig. 2 Left - Model of the dome at the base of the CN tower submitted by Robbie and Allen. Fig. 3 Right – Map of CityPlace Location
A sports dome would fit perfectly into the plan called CityPlace that intended to develop a multi-purpose mix of commercial, residential, and retail along the railway lands near the waterfront. Robbie wanted to design ‘a pleasure palace for the people.’ (CITE8) The architect of the new dome believed the innovative stadium would be a special and long-lasting structure. Rod Robbie said, “In the initial phases of its construction, the dome will look like a ruin, like a coliseum if you will. But when it’s finished, it will be a secular cathedral.” CITE10)...