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Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Bess Adler / Thornton Tomasetti (left) and Mike Bauer / Thornton Tomasetti (right).

  • COMPLETION DATE
    2012

Overview

Thornton Tomasetti provided structural and façade design and construction engineering including connection design, delivery of a Tekla model and erection engineering for the LEED Silver Barclays Center, the new home of the NBA Brooklyn Nets. The design-build project features 18,103 seats, 101 suites and an ice floor for hockey and other events. The steel superstructure consists of two levels of concourses and two levels of suites.

Integrating Services to Deliver a Distinctive Arena
A weathered steel exterior lattice wraps around the structure and the entrance canopy that cantilevers 85 feet over the plaza. The façade design, with 12,000 pre-weathered steel panels and the canopy, were added during the design phase of the project, requiring the structural design to be modified. Thornton Tomasetti provided Tekla models, connection samples and full connection design, which allowed us to produce models quickly, store large quantities of information, and coordinate with the entire team.

The arena’s arched roof is supported by a pair of 350-foot tied arch trusses spanning the long direction of the arena. The building lateral system and diaphragms were designed to resist thrust forces from the roof arches, which were minimized by use of the tension tie.

The arena is set in a tight urban setting near a subway station and train terminal, presenting unique challenges for the foundation system. The building was designed with a pair of truck elevators feeding a below-grade loading dock with a large truck turntable to facilitate turning. Building columns were transferred using large plate girders spanning over the dock.

Adding a Green Roof
In 2015, the Barclays Center was topped with one of the largest green roofs in New York City and the largest green roof to be placed on a sports arena in the United States. The roof is composed of flowering sedum which requires minimal year-round maintenance. The added plantings help to reduce noise levels from the entertainment and sports venue while also enriching the views from the surrounding neighborhood and the planned residential towers being developed by the two partners.

Thornton Tomasetti designed the 135,000-square-foot, long-span steel superstructure that supports the new surface. This superstructure spans over the arena roof below, supported only at the perimeter trusses and at the main tied arches below. An air gap between the two surfaces ranging from four to fifteen feet allows for significant noise reduction while also elevating the sedum surface to be visible from the street level.

Thornton Tomasetti worked closely with the steel fabricator and erector during the design phase to develop a lightweight structure that could be erected with minimal disruption to the arena’s busy sports and events schedule.

Atlantic Yards, NBA, Nets, green roof, Brooklyn
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Specialized Expertise

Computational Analysis

While the range of shapes and forms that can be designed with modern modeling tools is almost limitless, geometric discipline is still essential for budget control. When forms are still in flux, the design team can use our proprietary tools to interactively study multiple geometric options and establish optimized shapes for structural frames and building surfaces, along with related systems.

Parametric modeling applies parameters such as materials, dimensions or performance criteria to define elements or element categories within a model. Once entered, they can be altered, individually or in combination, to explore and easily incorporate design changes. These 3D models contain intelligent information and can serve as deliverables, or they can be used to generate 2D drawings. Parametric models improve documentation speed and quality, enhance visualization, quickly perform geometry-based analytical tasks and easily calculate material quantities.

Generative modeling uses scripts – instead of direct input – to generate elements, providing even greater flexibility in iterating and testing many options. It allows architects, engineers and other project stakeholders to work together to quickly evaluate any number of concepts and variations.