Air-Supported Roof Redux

by Kris P. Hamilton, (M.ASCE), Principal; Geiger Engineers, Bellingham, Wash.,
David M. Campbell, Principal; Geiger Engineers, Suffern, NY,
Paul Gossen, (M.ASCE), Principal; Geiger, Engineers, Suffern, NY,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1995, Vol. 65, Issue 5, Pg. 64-67

Document Type: Feature article


Long-span, low profile, air-supported roofs have been dramatic additions to a dozen public arenas built in the 1970s and early 1980s. The advantages of these roofs were overshadowed by problematic snow removal, the potential for ponding and deflation, and relatively high operating expenses. Design improvements and better operational management have surmounted many of these problems. Further developments toward a new generation of designs should make long-span air-supported roofs a viable structural option once again. The first application of the long-span, low-profile, air-supported roof in Osaka in 1970 was also the purest in following the logic and mathematics of designer and air-supported roof inventor David Geiger's original patents. The roofs that followed responded in different ways to the needs of the stadium building type. Since that time, new fabrics and conventional roof systems have been developed that approach the air roof in life-cycle costs. As currently implemented in the Vancouver, Tokyo, and Indianapolis stadiums, air supported roofs would be a suitable structural solution in areas of light or no snowfall.

Subject Headings: Roofs | Stadiums and sport facilities | Snow | Mathematics | Life cycles | Fabrics | Buildings

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