Arup Thoughts: Build stadiums to last

In the end, all buildings are temporary. A poorly conceived or badly constructed building will quickly need to be replaced, with all the financial and environmental costs that brings. So designing our buildings to last as long as possible benefits both the people who use them and the environment.

04/16/2014


Courtesy: ARUPAs designers, we should always ask our clients: “What’s the expected lifespan for this building?” We should then aim to help exceed this lifespan.

In North America, sports stadiums are examples of buildings that can enjoy long and useful lives if they are well designed. Unfortunately, they also show what can happen when designers, planners and architects don’t get things right.

Most of our outdoor stadiums are for baseball and (American) football. Multi-purpose stadiums designed to house both sports became very popular between the 1960s and 1980s – as a means to save money. By 1989, 16 of the 30 major league baseball teams were housed in multi-purpose stadiums with their local football counterparts. 

Of those 16, only two – Oakland and Toronto – are still in use for both sports. Nine have already been demolished; another is scheduled to be demolished in the next few years; two are still used for football but not for baseball; and the remaining two are used for neither. Their average lifespan stands at only 35 years. Obviously this is much shorter than the intended lifespan, which in some cases was as much as 1,000 years.

There are several reasons this strategy didn’t work. Firstly, baseball and football fields are shaped differently (baseball is played on a diamond and football on a rectangle). So the field had to be configured for both.

Secondly, football players prefer an all-grass field whereas a baseball field has more dirt on it. And thirdly, football players’ spikes tear up the turf. Baseball players don’t like that and it leads to conflicts.

But the biggest issue was probably the way that the revenue stream has changed. At the time multi-purpose stadium construction was popular, most of the income came from fans’ gate receipts, so these stadiums were built with huge seating capacities. That shifted so that most of the revenue started to come from boxes and suites. However, most multi-purpose stadiums didn’t include enough of these. Recently, it’s changed again with the money coming from TV rights to screen the games.

So in most cases it would have been better to build separate stadiums from the outset – both financially and from a sustainability point of view. Demolishing a stadium means huge amounts of concrete and steel going to landfill, and there’s a high carbon cost too.

Chicago is a great example of a city that got its stadiums right. The baseball stadium, Wrigley Field, is celebrating its 100th year in 2014. And its 1924 football stadium, Soldier Field, is still going strong. Soldier Field and Wrigley Field demonstrate perhaps the most important factor in maximizing the lifespan of a building: making sure it works well for the end users, in this case the players and fans.

Wrigley Field, for example, is a neighborhood stadium. Fans stand in the street and try to catch a home run ball. People across the street sit out on their roof and watch the game. That local neighborhood experience makes it special.

If more buildings could create such special experiences for their end users, do you think they would they last longer?

Read the original article here.


Shane Day is a senior engineer based in Seattle working in the mechanical engineering  group. He has more than 14 years of experience, with the last six of which at Arup working on commercial building projects.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me