A River Runs through It

by Jeff L. Brown, Contributing Editor; ASCE World Headquarters, 1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Reston, VA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2002, Vol. 72, Issue 1, Pg. 64-68

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: The new stadium under construction for the New England Patriots is architecturally and structurally unique, but it is also attracting attention for another reason: the restoration of a long-buried river. The 68,000-seat stadium, called CMGI Field, is being built adjacent to the Patriots' existing facility in Foxborough, Massachusetts, at a cost of $325 million. The Neponset River previously ran through the site in an underground culvert, and as part of the project has been daylighted, or brought above ground, in a 3,000 ft (910 m) corridor along the eastern edge of the property. The design of the stadium itself was likewise infused with a sense of openness, enabling fans to view the field from previously unavailable perspectives, the architects placed the concourses at the top of their respective seating bowls instead of in the middle as in a more typical stadium. This had the effect of significantly increasing the story heights, which in turn created a need for more substantial lateral bracing. Instead of diagonal cross bracing, which would have obstructed the views, the structural engineers used rigid steel frames in both the radial and the circumferential direction. The structure is nestled into the side of a 50 ft (15 m) escarpment, which was partially excavated so that the lower seating deck on the western side of the stadium rests directly on the slope. The engineers and the town of Foxborough also collaborated on an innovative water supply and reuse system that included the creation of a new high-pressure water district and an on-site wastewater treatment plant.

Subject Headings: Stadiums | Building design | Massachusetts |

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