In honor of National Engineers Week we’ll focus on the different ways Thornton Tomasetti’s technical staff make a difference in the world around us.
A tree isn’t the only thing growing in Brooklyn. More than 34,000 trays of sedum are flourishing atop the 135,000-square-foot roof at Barclays Center. The carpet of green is not only sustainable but helps to reduce noise levels from Brooklyn Nets games and other events. The green roof presented a unique challenge for Thornton Tomasetti, which provided structural engineering design for the 18,000-seat arena completed in 2012. Although initial plans called for a green roof, it was subsequently eliminated from the design. We were brought back along with the rest of the original team to develop a design for supporting the new roof. Our solution was to augment the existing pair of central tied arches with an additional chord 14 feet above the existing arch chord. The new arch chords are tied into the existing arches with a vertical element at each major panel point, along with diagonal bracing elements at the ends of the span. The resulting heightened green roof surface is more visible from the street, and the gap between the new and existing roof surfaces provides added benefit in curtailing noise emission. To minimize the extra weight that would need to be supported, SHoP Architects selected a lightweight sedum, which was installed as a series of 2-by-2-foot trays. The trays were grown offsite and then transported to the arena for installation. Exterior steel erection began in late 2014 and was completed by June 2015, with minimal impact to the arena’s busy event schedule. The roof, which quickly became a popular destination for local bees who pollinated the flowering plants, gives a dense urban neighborhood a natural vista.
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