Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, New York is the largest outdoor tennis-only venue in the world, featuring 23,771 seats, 90 luxury suites, five restaurants and a two-level players’ lounge. But the United States Tennis Association (USTA), owner of the stadium, felt that something needed to be done to eliminate the frequent delays caused by inclement weather that disrupted the tournament over the past several years.
The solution was a lightweight retractable polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane roofing system that can be easily be closed in under 10 minutes at the first sign of bad weather.
WSP USA was selected in 2011 to provide structural engineering services for the $100 million project, partnering with ROSSETTI, design architect of the retractable roof; and Birdair, Inc., which fabricated and installed the roof. Hunt Construction served as the general contractor and Hardesty & Hanover was the mechanization engineer.
The 236,000-square-foot roof was unveiled at an Aug. 2 ceremony featuring tennis legend Billie Jean King. The 2016 U.S. Open, which began Aug. 29, marks the first time an event at the stadium will have the retractable roof available.
“The new retractable roof allows the stadium to continue to offer open-air events, while providing all-weather protection for the players and fans,” said Ahmad Rahimian, project manager for WSP.