The roof itself was constructed from 1,700 individual pieces and covered with lightweight and durable Teflon-coated fiberglass membrane fabric (PTFE). The retractable section of the roof was designed with two identical moving panels, each weighing one million pounds, controlled by an eight-wheel rail system. The roof can open or close in approximately seven minutes.
The schedule added another layer of complexity. The U.S. Open lasts only two weeks and construction could not interfere with the 2014 and 2015 events. The first phase of construction began in fall 2013, and the roof was completed ahead of schedule a few weeks before the start of the 2016 Open.
When the roof was unveiled in August 2016, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive, with USTA President and U.S. Open Chairwoman Katrina Adams stating, “A lot of bold thinking, incredible hard work and strategic problem-solving went into getting us to this day.”
“Building Information Modeling (BIM) was critical in planning how the roof fit together. We had to coordinate three massive cranes working around the existing stadium to erect each structural piece,” said Ken Johnson, executive vice president, AECOM Hunt. “By reviewing the exact sequence in BIM, we were able to develop contingency plans and mitigate potential job hazards. Every possible consideration was addressed and vetted before any lifts happened in the field.”
BIM technology played a key role in planning and sequencing the construction and in coordinating AECOM Hunt’s work with the entire team, but the most important dimension of the project was the thorough execution to plan every step of the way.