Sporting Interest

The newest NFL super stadium, SoFi Stadium in California, was designed to utilise aluminum as a key material in it's crucial structures.
23 October, 2020
This stadium, supposedly the largest in history, is adorned at the top with an aluminum canopy made from a translucent ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) membrane, and 34,789 perforated anodized aluminum exterior panels surrounding the stadium's outermost structure.
The panels are attached to an aluminum lattice support system connected to the main structure surrounding the stadium, that (together with the roof) makes up the canopy. The independently supported canopy covers the stadium while crucially allowing for wind circulation, diffused lighting, and protection both from the sun and the rain.
Constructed from aluminum, the 'skin' of the building responds to the variable local climate without requiring a HVAC system. Additionally, an ETFE ellipse, purposely located in the center of the roof perfectly envelops the playing field in diffused daylight. Importantly, the roof design also cleverly creates an illusion of being outside for the stadium's visitors.
According to LMA, "the unique 'Frost White' anodized finish on the up to eight inch thick aluminum panels used for the SoFi Canopy, was developed in a collaboration between Zahner, AaCron, Novelis, and Metalwest. The innovative design created within the collaboration has never been used for a project prior to this. The exclusive 'Frost White' finish was developed purposefully to stand out against the blue Californian sky, whilst also having a matte finish so as not to create any dangerous glare or light reflection for the air traffic flying directly overhead- to and from Los Angeles International Airport."
"Other materials for the canopy were considered in the early stages of the design process, however, once the white anodize option was proposed , aluminum was the obvious choice. Therefore, we engineered the panels (designing factors such as the thickness and return dimensions.) around the aluminum," recalled Angela Orscheln, Vice President of Operations at Zahner. "The eight and strength were positive benefits, but ultimately it was the finish that was our greatest success — what's more the budget is of course always a factor."

With 3.1 million sq ft of space covered by the canopy it is now one of the world's largest indoor-outdoor venues. The stadium itself can seat 70,000 people, while also house an entirely separate, much smaller venue with a 6,000 seat capacity.. The entire stadium project cost upwards of $2.5 billion..

The first game at SoFi was held on 13th September 2020. Looking to the future, we are optimistic that the, SoFi Stadium will safely be the host of the Super Bowl LVI in 2022 and both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Olympics.

Banner image: Light Metal Age