Colorado Dome

by Richard Weingardt, (M.ASCE), Pres.; Richard Weingardt Consultants, Inc., Denver, CO,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 6, Pg. 60-62

Document Type: Feature article


Innovative engineering and precise design helped engineers overcome a building's unique shape and difficult site to deliver the $71.5 million Jefferson County Government Center in Golden, Colorado. The 550,000 sq ft structure features two curved wings separated by a 12 story rotunda and is designed to handle seismic forces, temperature extremes, expensive soils, and loads from snow and high winds. Creating the building's curves required unique connections for each of the deep long-span girders that provide the structure with large open areas inside. In between the curved wings, the central dome over the rotunda is supported by a unique tension-ring beam that serves a variety of structural and aesthetic functions. Underneath, a 600 ft long tunnel to a nearby jail had to be designed to float so it would not transfer forces from the expansive soils to either building. The resulting structure is both striking and functional, and able to expand as the county continues to grow.

Subject Headings: Building design | Domes (structure) | Curvature | Seismic loads | Snow loads | Innovation | Government buildings | Earthquake resistant structures | Colorado | United States

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