miami st 200x116Building information modeling (BIM) was used in the design of the new Miami Stadium that will become home to the NFL Miami Dolphin football club. Designed by architect HOK, this phase of modernizations also adds four 50-by-112-foot, high-definition screens, one at each of the stadium’s corners. Designed to withstand Category 4 hurricane winds, the canopy is completely independent from the existing stadium construction. 

A topping out ceremony was held Friday, July 29, at the New Miami Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, celebrating the completion of the steel structure of a new shade canopy at the multi-purpose facility. The 626,000-square-foot, long-span, cable-supported canopy is part of the second phase of renovations at the stadium, for which Thornton Tomasetti is providing structural, façade and construction engineering services to South Florida Stadium LLC. Designed by architect HOK, this phase of modernizations also adds four 50-by-112-foot, high-definition screens, one at each of the stadium’s corners. Phase one—completed in 2015—for which we also served as structural engineer, added a new lower bowl to the sidelines, replaced all seats and rebuilt the concourses at the 100 and 300 levels. The third phase of the project will renovate suites and clubs on the 200C and 200M concourse levels as well as redevelop plazas and parking areas. 

Fig. 1 - Senior Engineer Ben Mielke signs the final steel beam to be placed atop the New Miami Stadium, home to the Dolphins NFL team, while Senior Associate Eric Search and Senior Engineer Brian Mielke wait their turn. Photos by Senior Engineer Benjamin Prewitt unless otherwise noted.Fig. 1 - Senior Engineer Ben Mielke signs the final steel beam to be placed atop the New Miami Stadium, home to the Dolphins NFL team, while Senior Associate Eric Search and Senior Engineer Brian Mielke wait their turn. Photos by Senior Engineer Benjamin Prewitt unless otherwise noted.

Fig. 2 - An aerial photo of the stadium two days before the topping out ceremony. Courtesy Hunt Construction Group.Fig. 2 - An aerial photo of the stadium two days before the topping out ceremony. Courtesy Hunt Construction Group.

The stadium is home to the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins and the University of Miami Hurricanes football teams. In addition to hosting the annual Orange Bowl college football game, it has seen five Super Bowls, the 2010 Pro Bowl, two World Series as well as various other sports and entertainment events. The facility has had several names over the years (most recently Sun Life Stadium), and will be renamed after its new sponsor, to be announced later this year. It is slated to host Super Bowl LIV in 2020.

Fig. 3 - Building Information Modeler Spencer Whitehead, left, with Vice President Mike DeLashmit, who is leading the team performing threshold inspections at the site.Fig. 3 - Building Information Modeler Spencer Whitehead, left, with Vice President Mike DeLashmit, who is leading the team performing threshold inspections at the site.

Designed to withstand Category 4 hurricane winds, the canopy is completely independent from the existing stadium construction. This minimized the need for retrofits to the older structure and allowed the work to be phased to accommodate the 2015 sports season. Our façade engineers designed the 95,200-square-foot translucent ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) section of the canopy, which blocks rain and direct sun from the seating bowl while letting in abundant light. Eight concrete mega-columns, two at each corner, were tucked close to the stadium walls. Steel masts rise between each pair of columns, which support and stabilize long steel trusses that span high above the inner and outer edges of the seating bowl.

Fig. 4 - The final steel beam was installed at the top chord of one of the four bow trusses atop the shade canopy.Fig. 4 - The final steel beam was installed at the top chord of one of the four bow trusses atop the shade canopy.

The final steel beam was installed at the top chord of one of the four bow trusses atop the shade canopy.

Thornton Tomasetti also performed Tekla modeling and connection design, which allowed for early material procurement, a crucial factor in meeting an aggressive schedule. The stadium will reopen on September 1, 2016, for the Dolphin’s last preseason game and follow up with Hurricanes’ and Dolphins’ season opener games.

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For more information: Thornton Tomasetti