Hartford Coliseum Roof Collapse: Structural Collapse Sequence and Lessons Learned

by Erling A. Smith, (M.ASCE), Asst. Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn.,
Howard I. Epstein, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1980, Vol. 50, Issue 4, Pg. 59-62

Document Type: Feature article


As with all structural failures, the collapse of the Hartford Civic Center Coliseum roof has raised many questions about design and analysis procedures. The profession should learn from its mistakes; a thorough understanding of the collapse of this structure is extremely useful in this learning process. An analytic model is used to reproduce the collapse. Results show how the interaction of the failed compression members and their bracing appears to have played an important part in the redistribution of the load, and in the eventual collapse of the structure. The results suggest several basic characteristics that should be considered in the design of structures of this type.

Subject Headings: Structural failures | Roof failures | Roofs | Structural analysis | Failure analysis | Model analysis | Bracing | Compression members | North America | Hartford | Connecticut | United States

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