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Innovative Stadium Opening Sets USTA Milestone


The 2018 US Open is set to be a milestone event that simultaneously completes the $550-million overhaul of the USTA National Tennis Center and celebrates the tournament's 50th anniversary.

Following the success of Arthur Ashe Stadium’s award-winning retractable roof, the final piece of the puzzle is the reconstruction of one of the campus’s major venues: Louis Armstrong Stadium. After the old Armstrong Stadium was demolished in 2016, construction began on the same footprint to reconstruct a more efficient, streamlined stadium.

Louis Armstrong Stadium | Topping Out

The new 14,061-seat stadium features an innovative design that encourages air flow through the stadium while keeping rain off the court, making it the first naturally ventilated tennis stadium with a retractable roof in the world. 

Although the rectangular building adds approximately 4,000 seats and 50,000-square-feet over the old footprint, the Armstrong design team succeeded in designing a tighter, more intimate seating bowl.

Air Flow + Innovation

The new Louis Armstrong Stadium will feature a retractable roof, similar to the roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, however, this roof is incorporated into the design of a venue that is essentially an outdoor venue.

Jon Disbrow, ROSSETTI’s Director of Architecture and Design Lead on the project was able to keep construction costs manageable due to the design vision to keep the venue naturally ventilated. The USTA will host the matches in an open, day-lit outdoor environment as much as possible, but still provide weather protection if necessary.

The ventilation design is based on key principles such as maximizing exposure to prevailing breezes, creating pathways for air at high, medium and low levels within the bowl, providing a roof that acts like an umbrella providing protection from rain overhead but allowing free airflow underneath, and providing an underground pathway for air to travel to lower level courtside seating.

“We did multiple studies to understand weather patterns and wind direction,” Disbrow said. “The design allows for maximum airflow into the stadium from all sides and into the spectator areas.”

Sustainability + Spectacle

The new stadium will also feature a retractable roof, the largest of its kind among the Number 2 stadiums at the Grand Slams. On each side of the stadium, there will be façades that are covered with terracotta louvers, optimally positioned to keep rain out, yet porous to maintain natural ventilation.

In fact, if the louvers were laid out end to end they would stretch 13.5 miles, which is longer than the island of Manhattan. Designers say the terracotta material contextually relates to the traditional brick buildings on the National Tennis Center site while using the material in a new way.

With Arthur Ashe Stadium and Grandstand Stadium already integral to circulation in the campus, the USTA and ROSSETTI will finally complete the 10-year vision plan to transform the campus into a sports spectacle on par with the Olympics with the unveiling of Louis Armstrong Stadium.