AT&T Stadium is a tribute to the 'Everything in Texas is Bigger' tradition. The 105,000 square-foot retractable roof is the largest of its kind and when the two 800,000-pound, fabric-clad panels are open, the entire playing field is visible from above. The open retractable roof, along with the open operable end zone walls, gives visitors an outdoor stadium experience when weather is favorable.
A custom rack-and-pinion system drives each panel 215 feet along slopes varying between 0 and 24 degrees, to open or close in approximately 12 minutes. When opening, the panels travel downhill with gravity doing most of the work and the motors actually slowing them down. The power generated through this process is harnessed and returned to the stadium's power grid using regenerative drives.
The two operable end-zone walls at AT&T Stadium are the largest in the world, measuring 120 feet high by 180 feet wide. Each wall is is made of five 38-foot wide, 5-foot thick glass-clad panels that open or close in 18 minutes. The clear glass cladding allows for panoramic views from within the stadium when the walls are closed. The walls are opened to promote air circulation and to allow stadium visitors to move freely between indoor and outdoor public areas. The open end zone walls, along with the open retractable roof, give visitors an outdoor stadium experience when weather is favorable.
After the video board was installed in 2009, the 9-story, 700-ton structure was mechanized in order to raise it 10 feet to accommodate a U2 concert set. The design was expanded to allow full 95 feet of vertical movement. In addition to rising 10 feet above the standard NFL position, the video board can also be positioned at 25 feet above the field for use as a video screen.
Sixteen cable drives spool 4.5 feet per minute to move the video board 95 feet vertically in approximately 20 minutes. An additional 8 cable drives stabilize the structure and prevent lateral movement during operation. The video board is operated from a personal computer located in the control room along with the computer used to operate the retractable roof and operable wall.
Location: Arlington, Texas
Scope of Work: Design, Supply, Installation
Project Client: Manhattan Construction
Architect: HKS, Inc.
General Contractor: Manhattan Construction
Structural Engineer: Walter P Moore
The project was awarded the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) IDEAS2 President's Award of Excellence in Engineering in 2010.