The Secret Ingredient for Open-Air Stadiums?

Photography to Isaiah J. Downing

Project Name: Switchbacks FC Stadium

Location: 111 W Cimarron St. Colorado Springs, CO

Date of Completion: 2021 Serge Ferrari Group

Product / Category: Flexlight® Advanced 1302 S2 Tensile Shading

List of Contributors

Architect: Perkins+Will

Fabricator/Installer: DUNN Lightweight LLC

General Contractor: GE Johnson Construction Company

Owner: Colorado Springs Switchbacks Football Club

Flexlight® Advanced 1302 S2 Tensile Canopies Provide Functional Shade Protection For Switchback Stadium

While envisioning the new home for the Switchback Football Club, a USL Championship franchise, Perkins+Will sought to weave in functional, yet architecturally unique elements throughout the multi-use, 8,000-seat Switchbacks FC Stadium, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

A shading solution designed and manufactured by Serge Ferrari Group

In collaboration with the City of Colorado Springs, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Weidner Apartment Homes, and Switchbacks FC, the design team tapped Serge Ferrari Group to incorporate tensile structure canopies over portions of the seating areas. Seeking to create a long-lasting, easy to maintain space, the team selected materials that embodied these notions.

Selecting the Flexlight® Advanced 1302 S2 membrane, the overall goal was to provide a functional, cost effective shading solution for patrons, while adding a unique complement to the large-scale sculpture at the stadium’s main entry. The Flexlight Advanced 1302 S2 combines the latest developments in durability and longevity of flexible composite materials, coupled with ease of maintenance, suitable for a range of applications including stadium roofing and open-air theaters.

Solving for weather concerns

The Stadium sits at an altitude of roughly 6,600 feet above sea-level—the highest elevation of any primary home stadium used by a professional team in the American soccer pyramid through the 2020 season. Due to the high elevation, modifications to the canopy structure had to be made to combat weather concerns, including the wind load and excessive deflection issue.

This posed an issue for installation of the fabric as many adjustments to the structure were made. The fabric and structure had to withstand 150 mph wind speed, whereas the original design was only able to accommodate 90 mph. Working closely with the fabricator/installer DUNN Lightweight, the team was able to quickly and efficiently modify the Serge Ferrari fabric to accommodate the new structure. Each fabric panel was tensioned on top of the prepared steel structures in each canopy section around the field to reach the desired result.

Precontraint® technology for a long lifespan

Manufactured with Serge Ferrari Group’s patented Precontraint® technology that tensions the yarns in both directions prior to coating, Flexlight® Advanced 1302 S2 offers a long lasting performance with minimal maintenance through its dimensional stability, ensuring the material does not stretch out over time, as well as its thicker top coat, ensuring excellent UV resistance and cleanability.

With assistance from all design and installation teams, combined with Serge Ferrari Group’s Precontraint® technology, the end result was a safe and timely installation meeting every expectation. The engineering design considered the wind concerns. Under these environmental conditions, it is essential that each batch of composite material complies with the deformation-under-load design calculations. Precontraint® technology effectively offers membranes that are ideally suited to these technical design requirements.

Client Quote

Kendall Herold Project Manager, GE Johnson Construction Company “Serge Ferrari Group’s previous work with major venues is well-known and well-respected in the industry. The products’ ease of maintenance, durability, and longevity were all primary drivers in the selection process, and we are thoroughly pleased with how everything turned out".

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