Each August, the eyes of the tennis world are on the dozens of courts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York, home of the U.S. Open tennis tournament. But come finals, the attention turns to one venue in particular: center court at Arthur Ashe Stadium. On August 29, at the 136th annual tournament, the stadium will unveil its most recent addition, a $150 million retractable roof.
For the project—part of a nine-year master plan to reimagine the complex—the U.S. Tennis Association partnered with Rossetti, the Detroit architecture firm that built TD Garden in Boston, Ford Field in Detroit, and the original Arthur Ashe Stadium. The first phase of the $550 million venture was completed in 2014, adding Court 17 and the Heineken Red Star Café. The main part of phase two was the completion of the retractable roof—a massive feat, considering that the 24,000-seat venue is the world’s largest tennis-specific stadium by capacity.
For the past five years, weather—generally rain—has halted play at U.S. Open. As such, the USTA felt it was imperative to install a retractable roof. The organization didn’t, however, want it to be standard in any way. Rossetti designed a striking addition that, when closed, blends seamlessly with the stadium, although it’s actually fully independent from the venue.The lightweight roof can close in less than ten minutes, making Arthur Ashe one of the fastest-closing stadiums in the world.
Article Written by Nick Mafi for Architectural Digest on July 21, 2016
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