Seismically Safe, Spectator-Friendly

by Charles H. Thornton, (M.ASCE), Principal; Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers, New York, NY,
Thomas Z. Scarangello, Sr. Assoc.; Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers, New York, NY,
Chris Christoforou, Project Engr.; Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers, New York, NY,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 2, Pg. 52-54

Document Type: Feature article


As 50,000 frightened spectators at Candlestick Park can attest, the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 provided chilling evidence of the importance of seismic design in public structures. Sports facilities, however, pose unique challenges. They must not only be built to code but must also function as entertainment centers. Indeed, the new Anaheim Arena was designed with these challenges in mind. The arena includes good sightlines, with unobstructed seating for up to 19,200 spectators; 2,700 luxury suite and club seats; seats no higher than 82 ft above the arena floor for intimacy; and service areas for team, press and administrative/concession activities. As for seismic considerations, they are evident in the entire design, from the foundations, to the seating bowl superstructure, all the way up to an intricate roof system, spanning 329 ft by 444 ft.

Subject Headings: Seismic design | Stadiums and sport facilities | Seismic tests | Seismic effects | Safety | Foundation design | Earthquakes | Public buildings

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