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Major shading at major tennis event

Case Studies, Exteriors | October 1, 2015 | By:

image11Stadium gets temporary fabric shades for the 2015 US Open.

While the world’s best tennis players battled on the court of Arthur Ashe Stadium at the
2015 US Open, HDPE shade fabric was saving the day above the court.

In a technological first, the US Open is having a retractable roof with a stand-alone support system installed over the existing stadium. With more than 6,000 tons of steel, the superstructure for the roof was completed in the spring.

Work on the retractable panels and the installation of a ventilation system started immediately following the 2015 US Open. However, because the retractable panels were not complete for the tournament, organizers were concerned about shadows from the roof elements causing problems for the players on the court, so they ordered temporary shades.

More than 50,000 square feet of White Comtex® Extra Heavy Duty Knitted Shadecloth from Polyfab USA was specified and installed for use as temporary sun shading on the stadium. At 10 oz. per square yard, Comtex is a superior fire-rated knitted HDPE shade fabric designed for large tension membrane structures and architectural shade sails.

The shades and the high performance Dyneema® tensioning cables were engineered and fabricated by Solar Shade USA LLC of Rich Hill, Mo., and installed by Birdair Inc.

According to Sports Illustrated, the entire tennis site is built on a former ash dump, and adding more weight in the form of a roof to the stadium—the largest tennis facility in the world—simply wasn’t feasible.

After years of delays due to engineering and cost concerns, plans for a stand-alone superstructure were developed. The permanent retractable roof will be ready for the 2016 US Open.

Jill Lafferty is editor of InTents magazine, a publication of the Industrial Fabrics Association International.

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