K-State Architecture Students Propose Stadium Designs for Collaboration with the New York Times

Tennis is a fair-weather sport. This is evidenced by the fact that this year, for the fifth straight year, the U.S. Open’s men’s final was delayed due to inclement weather. Some tennis stadiums have retractable roofs, but Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, where the U.S. Open is held, does not. The United States Tennis Association claims that the soil under the stadium is too unstable, and adding a traditional roof could possibly cause structural issues.

Some design challenges are difficult. Designing a lightweight roof for a tennis stadium is apparently not one of them, at least for Kansas State University’s College of Architecture, Planning, and Design (CAPD) students.

K-State CAPD students were recently challenged by the New York Times to develop a design for a lightweight stadium roof for Arthur Ashe Stadium. Professor Torgeir Norheim’s class was selected to work on the project, due to their skill level and ability to take on the challenge at short notice.

 Norheim’s students, who are all 5th-year students in the Masters of Architecture program, were given 48 hours to complete this task. Students developed a variety of concepts, ranging from a roof inspired by hot-air balloons to one that looks like intricate origami.

“In the beginning, we sat down and determined which structural systems to explore, and then broke into groups,” said Zachary Bodine, a 5th-year student in the Masters of Architecture program who participated in the challenge, “It was very intense; the majority of the class was up all night.  Naturally, it was very exciting and a little surreal to see our work on a full page in the New York Times.”

The student design proposals appeared on the back page of the New York Times Sports section on September 10th and can be viewed online at http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/09/10/sports/tennis/10roof-ss.html.

The College of Architecture, Planning, and Design collaborates with both public and private groups on a variety of design projects and competitions each year, and is frequently recognized as one of the top schools for design in the nation in a variety of categories, most recently being recognized as the #5-ranked architecture graduate program in the nation.  

 Emily Vietti, Communications & Events Coordinator for CAPD says the project was a success for everyone involved. “Working with the Times was special, and I'm so proud of our students and the work that they did,”.Vietti said, “It benefits the students because they will all be graduating this spring and this is a nice piece that they can add to their personal portfolios. It's important for our program because the level of recognition for what we're doing and our rankings is high and it gave us nationwide exposure. We're already seeing the benefits in recruiting, and I think that will continue.”

To learn more about K-State’s CAPD, visit http://www.capd.k-state.edu/arch/.