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USTA Construction In Full Swing

The new Louis Armstrong Stadium converts the site of the old facility into one of the Grand Slam tournaments' most intimate large tennis venues, topped by a retractable roof to keep spectators dry, says Jon Disbrow, ROSSETTI's lead architect for the project.

Last week, project officials marked the topping out ceremony, tied to the final piece of steel installed for stadium construction. The $180 million job is a complete rebuild of a facility originally constructed for the 1964 World's Fair in New York. It served as the primary court at the U.S. Tennis Association's Billie Jean King National Tennis Center before 23,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium opened in 1997. The new Louis Armstrong Stadium, situated next to Ashe, will seat 14,000, starting with this year's U.S. Open.

ROSSETTI, in tandem with general contractor AECOM Hunt and roof designer Morgan Kinetic Structures, kept the cost for building a midsize venue with a movable roof under $200 million by developing a theme of efficiency. A big savings was achieved by not having to design as many HVAC systems for the naturally ventilated building, Disbrow said.

"We didn't have that major expense," he said. "It's effectively an outdoor stadium."

The rectangular building expands seating for the USTA's second-biggest facility by 4,000 and the total footprint adds more than 50,000 square feet over the old setup. Despite the bigger layout, the seating bowl is tighter, with an equal distribution of 7,000 chairback seats between the lower and upper bowls.

As part of developing a tighter bowl, ROSSETTI eliminated a walkway that cuts through the lower deck, a change that pushes seats that were once behind the cross-aisle closer to the court. The architect designed the upper deck to cantilever over the lower bowl, moving the highest seats closer to the action as well. Overall, the bowl's steeper rake improves sightlines for all fans.

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