New Meadowlands Stadium
Structural Precast Elements:
• Precast tubs
• Precast vomitory walls
Super Bowl-caliber home for Giants and Jets pushes limits of precast
Completed in 2010, the new $1.7 billion Meadowlands stadium gives both the New York Jets and 2008 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants a spectacular home field. Located next to the site of the existing Giants Stadium, which it has since replaced, the complex is the first specifically designed to house two NFL teams.
With precast concrete stadium components from High Concrete Group LLC, their respective fans have seating to rival any venue in the National Football League.
The massive, 2.1 million-square-foot privately funded facility incorporates 445,000 square feet of precast concrete. The seating bowl and sightlines were developed based on careful study of sections from other NFL stadiums. The result is a stadium with 82,500 seats surrounding the entire field, creating intensity and providing excellent views even from the farthest seat.
“When considering the precast, there are several firsts in this stadium that may set precedents for other sports venues,” says Ewing Cole project architect Craig Schmitt. “These include the designs for the tub floors, the tub front walls and the RFID tagging and BIM system that tracked pieces from production through installation.”
Though the scope and complexity of the project initially created logistical challenges, builder SKANSKA Building USA viewed High Concrete Group LLC as a natural fit for the demanding project. High Concrete Group had supplied the precast for the original Giants Stadium, so the design team knew what to expect when preparing for the new worksite. And High Concrete’s experience handling large stadium projects including the new Prudential Center in Newark and Citi Field in Queens provided an additional level of reassurance.
Building Details — Unique precast designs save costs, improve fan experience
Early coordination of the precast stadium units helped identify any conflict with structural steel or other trades, helping to avoid unnecessary fieldwork and limit costly change orders. For the owner, these error-reducing measures gained the potential to earn revenue sooner. High Concrete Group worked closely with Ewing Cole from the beginning to lock in the design so the architect could order materials ahead of expected price increases.
“The column to column spans are much larger than most other stadiums,” notes Schmitt. “Typically, spans range from 36 to 42 feet. In the New Meadowlands they are 50 to 55 feet.” Specially engineered by High Concrete Group, the precast was designed to minimize deflection, vibration and harmonics so that fans feel safe in the stands despite the larger spans. Meantime, the span increase helped reduce the number of steel pieces to be erected.
The very front row of each deck is unique, according to Schmitt. In a first for stadium design, “we built in a trough underneath where the seat would be mounted, purposely canting the floor and embedding drains so that cascading water would be carried away without getting peoples’ feet wet.”
The tubs in the mid bowl were produced without upturned fascia walls. In place of the precast in this area, a continuous structural LED ribbon board was used. Had the ribbon board been mounted to the precast it would have pushed into the sight lines of people sitting above. The ribbon board is mounted via weld tabs to plates formed into the precast tubs, which were designed to prevent corrosion of the connections. The same precast drain detail used on the standard tubs kept water away to keep the composite assembly watertight.
Construction — RFID-BIM combination tracks speeds precast piece installation
In January 2008, High Concrete Group began shipping three sizes of form finish gray concrete risers, as well as wall panels, slabs and stair units. Tub units for the bowl each weighed 25-28 tons and measured about 1,000-6,000 square feet. The Z-shaped tubs were cast in single, double and triple units to make them easier to erect.
Providing the surface onto which seats are bolted, the risers were delivered as singles (1-8 tons, up to more than 2,300 square feet); doubles (1-18 tons, up to nearly 13,000 square feet); and triples (2-26 tons, up to 8,800 square feet).
High Concrete Group supplied about 2,600 pieces for the bowl of the project using radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging system that was tied to Tekla Structures, the building information modeling (BIM) software solution used by High Concrete Group’s engineering department. Tekla covered the entire structural design process from conceptual design to detailing, fabrication and construction. As the pieces moved through the production process, RFID information was fed into Tekla so that SKANSKA could visualize the status and details of each piece with up-to-date information from the field. The New Meadowlands Stadium is the first project in the U.S. to combine field software, Tablet PCs, RFID and BIM for integrated production management.
SKANSKA estimates that the combined RFID-BIM solution accelerated the construction schedule by 10 days, which translated into $1 million in savings. This was possible because the more accurate, up-to-date production information allowed for real-time understanding of what pieces had been fabricated, whether they had passed quality assurance, when they arrived on the jobsite, and which of them had been installed on the structure.
In addition to rapid erection of the stadium, all stadium components provided by High Concrete Group were manufactured locally or regionally, primarily at the company’s Buena, N.J., plant. Almost all raw materials were acquired from within a 500-mile radius from the project’s site, thus keeping transportation costs to a minimum and reducing the project carbon footprint – a key consideration for one of the NFL’s greenest stadiums.