Tensioned and Twisted for Tennis

Tensioned and Twisted for Tennis

The US Tennis Association’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, in New York’s City’s borough of Queens, is a sizeable campus with multiple stadia for major tennis matches. It is in the middle of a ten-year, $550 million re-design that is opening three new stadia, two of which debuted this past summer.

The new 8,125-seat Grandstand Stadium, moved to the southwest corner of the campus (the old Grandstand Stadium was in the northeast corner) features a kind of peek-a-boo wall made of fiberglass fabric coated with PTFE (aka Teflon) , a flexible composite that is seeing increasing use as a wrapper for large outdoor venues.

Designed by Rosetti, an architectural firm that specializes in sports venues, the new Grandstand Stadium is partially covered on top to shield spectators from the sun. It is ringed in a façade of semi-transparent composite panels that are tensioned and twisted, allowing little slits of clear view between them, as well as a white, gauzy view through them. These glimpses of the surrounding area are a bit of a tease, but the panels provide shielding from sun and wind, too. The ratehr gill-like shape also gives the stadium the outward appearance of some large, exotic white sea creature.

This seemingly simple design was actually quite geometrically complex, and required extensive computation and 3-D modeling.

All images via Rossetti.com.