VTB Arena Park in Moscow. Courtesy Manica Architecture.



Thornton Tomasetti provided structural engineering, through schematic design, and façade engineering services for the initial design of a reconstruction of the existing Dynamo Stadium into a world-class sports venue. The design included a 655,000-square-meter sports center composed of a new 33,000-seat football stadium, a 12,000-seat basketball / hockey arena, restaurants, a training facility and parking. Two levels of retail space would have been constructed within portions of the preserved historic façade of the old stadium.

Maintaining the aesthetic goals of the new structure and the historic exterior entryway of the old stadium would have required several types of structural materials and system configurations. Cast-in-place concrete would have been utilized in the parking and retail levels for foundations, floor slabs and columns up to the event floor. Above the event floor, structural steel framing would have been used to frame the seating bowls, concourses and super trusses at building overhangs.

The enclosed roof over the arena, the stadium roof with an oculus, and the building façade would have been contained within one structural system, each with vastly different support conditions and spans. The roof framing would have consisted of diagrid trusses built of round hollow structural steel members supporting the building skin elements.

Polycarbonate, a rigid, cellular material, had been selected for the building skin based on the owner’s aesthetic preferences. Thornton Tomasetti performed an in-depth analysis of the material—balancing properties such as maximum unsupported spans for façade and roof applications, maximum fabrication width and appearance—to determine efficiency of various panel sizes, shapes and connection angles. A rationalized panelization scheme was developed for the 25,000 panels that would have achieved the design’s curvature.

arena, soccer, long span, long-span
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Façade Materials & Systems


Unsurpassed for transparency, tensegrity systems and cable-net façade structures can efficiently enclose long-span openings without the use of heavy, rigid trusses or frames. We use leading-edge software to design glass façades and roofs with minimal structure. Our extensive experience with form-finding for complex geometries, along with our practical knowledge of cable engineering and construction, places us at the forefront of this design trend.

Façade Materials & Systems


Composite materials – fiber reinforced plastics (FRP), glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) and polycarbonate – make for elegant, lightweight and cost-effective enclosures. These materials are well-suited for use in stadiums and long-span buildings, both in new construction and for re-roofing existing structures. Most composites adapt to nearly any complex shape and are available in an array of thicknesses and finish options, from translucent to opaque. Using our 3D form-finding and optimization tools, we can adapt commercial systems or develop customized solutions.

Façade Materials & Systems

ETFE & Fabrics

The use of lightweight membrane structures can enhance design, budget and building performance – but only if their attributes are considered early in the design process. With the ability to span great distances, these systems are used in dynamic and sculptural forms and can be quickly modified to meet changing weather-related or programmatic needs by adjusting shading, thermal and aesthetic characteristics. Our façade engineering consultants are experts in the application of ETFE, fabric and tensioned membranes, from concept evaluation to integration of these lightweight systems into building skin designs.

Specialized Structural Engineering 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.