Thornton Tomasetti is providing structural design services for the 720,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art ice hockey arena for the city of Pittsburgh and the 2009 Stanley Cup Champions, the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins. The $321 million facility is utilizing an accelerated fast-track project delivery approach and is in pursuit of LEED Gold certification as it prepares for a fall 2010 opening. With its capacity to host hockey, basketball, concerts and an assortment of other events, the arena will serve as the anchor of the urban redevelopment district.
The 100-foot-tall atrium space, with a dramatic spine wall along the west façade, provides a spectacular view into the concourse and suite levels of the building. Not only is there an elevation change across the site, the building is cut into and is founded upon bedrock at the north end of the site and drilled piers extending through almost 30 feet of “unconsolidated fill” at the south end. Rammed aggregate piers are required for slab support for much of the building footprint including the ice sheet. In addition, controlled low strength materials were utilized as backfill behind a 28-foot-tall by 500-foot-long basement wall, reducing vertical and lateral earth pressures and settlement, creating retail space along the entire south end of the arena.
The interior view of the roof will be quite remarkable since all catwalk and rigging girds have been placed at the top chord of the two tied arch trusses, leaving the plunging tension tie prominently exposed. This element will enhance the interior view, while significantly simplifying the structural steel construction.
Thornton Tomasetti is also providing specialty engineering services for the contractor to ensure the construction schedule and budget are met, and prevent possible delay due to the complex foundation wall system. This service includes the design of detailed bracing plans as well as working with the contractor to revise backfill schedules to match the state of completion of the primary structure.
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Owner: Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority
Architect: Populous (formerly HOK Sport Venue Event)
Area: 720,000 sf
Completion Date: 2011