The Saddledome was selected in 2011 as one of the top 50 precast concrete projects of the last 50 years and was published in CPCI’s 50th Anniversary Commemorative Book as well as the 50th Anniversary Imagineering Magazine.
The Olympic Saddledome is the primary indoor arena of Calgary, Alberta with a seating capacity of 19,289. It was built in 1983 to replace the Stampede Corral as the home of the Calgary Flames and to host ice hockey and figure skating at the 1988 Winter Olympics.
The roof of the building was designed to be a reverse hyperbolic paraboloid, allowing for a pillar free view from all seats and reducing the interior volume by up to one-third when compared to traditional arenas. Constructed using precast concrete panels suspended by post-tensioned cables, the roof has an unobstructed 122 m span covering 12,000 m2, but is only 600 mm thick. The designers won several architectural and engineering awards for their work on the Saddledome, and were honored by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada at its millennium celebration of architecture in 2000.
The Saddledome was divided into 5 independent parts: two grandstands having 3 tiers each, 2 grandstands having 2 tiers each and a roof constrained at 2 ends by 4 stability A-frames anchored into rock. The entire structure uses precast prestressed concrete construction. The sphere was divided into 32 equal parts by radial columns that support the edge ring. The edge ring was precast in 16 massive sections which were joined together with cast-in-place joints and post-tensioned. A 6 m x 6 m grid network of sagging and hogging cables support 391 lightweight precast concrete 50 mm thick roof panels, which were grouted together to form a thin-shell roof.
The roof can move freely on multidirectional bearings transferring vertical loads only to the top of the exterior columns. The grandstand structures (concourses and seating inside the stadium) are all precast and consist of interior framing, bleacher support raker beams, double tee floor slabs and bleacher slabs.
Infrastructure for Life
Government authorities are realizing that precast concrete components can be used to minimize interference to the public during municipal construction projects. Traffic holdups also have an adverse impact on the environment. Many bridge, water/sewer and public building projects whether new or replacement projects using precast components have demonstrated significant reductions in construction time, reduced impacts on traffic flow and the environment, as well as long life performance. Precast structures like the Saddledome highlight the aesthetic diversity and the durability of the precast concrete. The Saddledome was recently selected as one of the top 50 precast concrete projects of the last 50 years and was published in CPCI’s 50th anniversary commemorative book as well as the 50th anniversary Imagineering magazine.