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Hurricane Ike & Reliant Park Complex Evaluation

Hurricane Ike & Reliant Park Complex Evaluation 1

Thornton Tomasetti employees inspecting Reliant Park's roof.

Thornton Tomasetti

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In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Ike, twenty-five engineers from nine of Thornton Tomasetti’s domestic offices converged on Houston, Texas to provide emergency response services, undertaking a damage assessment of more than a dozen structures, including the state’s largest sports/entertainment facility, focusing on the specific mode of failure for the retractable fabric roof structure.

Professionals from Thornton Tomasetti’s Structure, Performance and Skin teams worked together to assess damage for the Reliant Park Complex, a 36-acre, 4.2-million SF facility comprised of Reliant Stadium, the Texas Astrodome, Reliant Arena, Reliant Conference Center, and numerous ancillary structures. The damage assessment process included a review of the original structural design and connection details, the effects of hurricane force wind and rain, a materials analysis, and an investigation to determine the cause and origin of the unanticipated roof failure.

To accomplish this task, Thornton Tomasetti developed an initial material testing program, determined the wind loading parameters, and performed an independent analysis to determine the tensile strength of the fabric, cable stress levels and maximum/minimum deflections, including 3-D modeling of the steel structure to check the interaction behavior of the steel and fabric.

Project Stats

Location: Houston, Texas

Area: 4.2 million sf

Completion Date: 2009