ETFE and facade engineering in Miami

Facades+ Miami

ETFE and facade engineering in Miami

Hard Rock Stadium under construction (courtesy Thornton Tomasetti)

Federico Balestrazzi, vice president of Thornton Tomasetti, is a leader of the facade engineering practice for the mid-Atlantic South region of the firm’s operations. He, along with other associates of the engineering firm, will be presenting at the upcoming Facades+ Miami conference.

Thornton Tomasetti’s facade engineering team specializes in the design and construction of complex building enclosures and facades, particularly high-rise curtain wall systems, and provides innovative approaches that are both practical and cost-effective.

(Fubon Tower, courtesy Thornton Tomasetti)

Balestrazzi will be presenting insights into recently completed arena and stadium work like the Miami Dolphins stadium renovation that carefully integrates structure with facade engineering. The project team designed a translucent ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) shade canopy. Inflated pillows of ETFE cover the canopy, blocking rain and direct sun from the seating bowl while letting light in.

ETFE panels line the inner ring of the new canopy at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The material also surrounds four structural masts, which rise 150 feet above the canopy and 350 feet above the ground to anchor the cables that support the canopy (Wayne Stocks/Thornton Tomasetti)

In a recent blog post about the firm’s research into ETFE, Thornton Tomasetti said, “We believe the high-visibility use of ETFE at the Hard Rock and U.S. Bank stadiums (as well as in other buildings, like ARTIC and The Shed) marks a turning point in its adoption as a viable option for transparent roofs, skylights and building envelopes in the U.S.” The transparent polymer foil is celebrated for its unique properties: It is highly durable, low maintenance, lightweight, and admits the full spectrum of light (including UV, which allows for plant growth).

Right: Revit model of the canopy at Hard Rock Stadium; left: detail of ETFE panels during installation (Thornton Tomasetti).

Balestrazzi said roughly half of the projects he works on are sited locally in the Miami area, and that these projects must respond to environmental conditions unique to the region. “Being in a hurricane region completely changes the game when it comes to wall performance. Dealing with the threat of hurricanes on a yearly basis is a very local phenomenon.”

(Courtesy Thornton Tomasetti)

You can see Balestrazzi’s presentation on facade engineering at the upcoming Facades+ Miami conference, on January 26 and/or take part in a Thornton Tomasetti workshop, “Choosing Between the Titans: Glass vs ETFE.”

Registration is open now. For further details, visit the Facades+ Miami site.