Madison Square GardenSeptember 5, 2014
In September of 1961, sports fans in New York City had lots to cheer about. Yankee outfielder Roger Maris slammed his sixtieth home run to tie Babe Ruth’s record, and the decision was made to retain Severud Associates to design a new home for the Knicks and the Rangers in what would become the fourth arena named Madison Square Garden.
“The World’s Most Famous Arena” has since then hosted countless popular celebrities and famous athletes. Structurally, the Garden incorporates a variety of complex features including the 150-foot high, 404-foot diameter roof. 48 cables extend from an exterior compression ring to a center tension ring and support the largest tension roof of its kind in the world.This ingenious roof design eliminates the need for interior supports, allowing for clear views from every seat in the house.The one hundred thousand square foot MEP plant that sits atop these 48 cables eliminates any potential wind uplift and dampens vibrations, making it, in effect, the world’s first “mass damper.”
Severud Associates was the structural engineer on the team assembled to turn Madison Square Garden into a state-of-the-art entertainment destination. The $1 Billion “Transformation” included new mid-level suites, court side bunker suites, restaurants, interactive seating, and a multi-story light-box atrium entrance. Two dramatic “sky bridges” that soar sixty feet above the arena seating and span two hundred and eighty feet represent the signature design pieces of this transformation. So slender is the design profile of these bridges that five tuned mass dampers on each bridge actively dampen the vibrations and compensate for the sway generated by exuberant crowds. What may be most impressive about these alterations is that the entire project was completed over an active rail station while maintaining complete NBA and NHL seasons.
Severud has maintained its tradition of designing cutting-edge, high profile sports and entertainment venues with projects such as Yale University’s David S. Ingalls Hockey Rink in New Haven, CT, the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, VA, and the roof structure of the USAirways Arena in Phoenix, AZ. The recently renovated LA Forum in Inglewood, CA joins this list, with an unprecedented capacity to rig increasingly heavy performance events.