The Dallas Cowboys (America’s) Stadium

Owner: Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX
Arlington, TX

Architect: HKS Architects, Dallas, TX
Engineer: Campbell & Associates, Dallas, TX
Contractor: Manhattan Construction Co., Dallas, TX
Reinforcing Bar Fabricator: CMC Rebar, Dallas, TX
Total Size: 3 million sq ft
Total Cost: $1.1 billion.
Award: 2010 CRSI Design Award Honorable Mention — Cultural & Entertainment Facilities Category.
Photography: Ralph Cole Photography.

America’s Stadium

The new stadium for the Dallas Cowboys, widely called “America’s Team,” has awed visitors and television audiences since it opened in time for the 2009 National Football League season. Providing the structural support for visiting fans and the high-tech equipment surrounding them is a variety of concrete structural components.

The stadium features several cast-in-place reinforced concrete and precast reinforced concrete supporting systems. The seating bowl, made of cast-in-place reinforced concrete, consists of four seating decks and 11 floors, including five suite levels. The supported floors primarily consist of reinforced one-way wide concrete module pan-joist framing systems. The seating decks are composed of precast reinforced concrete seating units supported by cast-in-place reinforced concrete raker beams.

Reinforced concrete columns located on a radial grid system provide vertical support for the seating bowl. The columns are supported on drilled reinforced concrete piers. Grade 75 reinforcing steel was used for #5 and larger bars in the cast-in-place concrete, except at the drilled piers. The lateral load-resisting systems for the seating bowl consist primarily of concrete moment frames in both the radial and circumferential directions.

The field level is located approximately 50 feet below grade. A soil-retention system, consisting of an 8-inch-thick shotcrete wall supported by tieback soil anchors, along with a 14-inch-thick cast-in-place reinforced concrete facing wall provide support at the stadium’s perimeter.

The façade leans out approximately 14 degrees along the perimeter, except at the end zones. This slant was achieved with inclined columns in the corner segments and vertical columns with cantilevered framing that increased in length in the middle segments. The sloping columns required a narrow profile, as they follow the incline of the glazing and are visible from the building’s exterior. The reinforcing bar ratio was increased to more than 4 percent at the inclined columns to meet the load and dimensional requirements.

The field-level dock area required clear spans of about 135 feet to accommodate up to eight 18-wheel broadcast trucks. Conventionally reinforced concrete beams, 6 feet wide and 18 feet deep, were used to transfer column loads from the concourse levels above the dock.

Floor framing meets strict deflection requirements for support of the operable glazing system located along the stadium suites. Additional reinforcing steel was required to meet the deflection criteria.

The conventionally reinforced concrete framing system was selected for the seating bowl for several reasons, including economy, reduced start-up time, vibration control and fire resistance. The reinforced concrete design helped the stadium meet its aggressive design and construction schedule.

This is a huge and impressive project featuring some very complex structural systems that are well suited to reinforced concrete. The concrete not only provided the most economical system but also offered good vibration control and fire resistance for a very public, high-occupancy structure.