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Duo-Gard Industries

D4COST Software

  Translucent Canopies Score Points For Stadium Renovation

Sited high on a hill, Purdue University’s Ross-Ade Stadium has been a commanding landmark in northern Indiana since its dedication in 1924. When the Boilermakers kicked off last fall, the stadium welcomed its team and their fans with a dynamic new look designed by the architects at HNTB Corporation of Kansas City, Mo. 

A “spirit of lightness” provided by four translucent canopies accents the entrances of Purdue University’s renovated Ross-Ade Stadium. Engineered by Duo-Gard Industries Inc., the canopies complement the stadium’s steel and brick facade. Dynamic new signage graphics will be added this summer. Massive renovations at Ross-Ade — finishing this fall — include upgrade and expansion of the entire concourse, concessions and restrooms plus the new pavilion, club, suites and press box. A new expanded concourse on a single level has replaced the old multi-level concourse.

Four curved translucent canopies accent the new North Entrance, adding what HNTB’s Mark Peters, AIA, calls a spirit of lightness. “These canopies help create a formal gateway, a threshold to the stadium,” says Peters. “We were looking for luminosity that would act as a visual foil to the heavy steel and masonry.”

They found it in translucent canopies engineered and fabricated by Duo-Gard Industries Inc. of Canton, Mich.. The company specializes in design/build daylighting systems, canopies and walkways integrating advanced multiwall polycarbonate technology from the world’s leading suppliers.

For the 21-foot by 31-foot Ross-Ade canopies, designers selected Duo-Gard’s Series 3000 BPC System with 16mm triplewall polycarbonate structured sheet (PCSS) glazing in luminescent opal, set in an aluminum frame of electrostatically painted gray. The PCSS diffuses 35% of the existing daylight and provides a dramatic glow from night lights. 

“Our goal was to give the overall look a tie-in with the campus and a counterpoint to the existing facility’s black steel structure. The translucent canopies accomplish that,” Peters says.

Engineered with a base plate, pressure plate and cap system, the Series 3000 features a highly aesthetic profile with smooth flowing face and no visible fasteners. It offers structural strength with light weight, integrates multiple seals to ensure water tightness and features a drip edge to channel the water. Each panel is surrounded by a 1/8-inch space that minimizes expansion and contraction. Duo-Gard used foam tape to allow air infiltration that prevents condensation while keeping out debris. 

Full 31-foot-long PCSS sheets were set 3½ feet on center, minimizing the seams and enhancing the aesthetics of the canopies. The system is engineered for easy installation. “It went in smoothly, in good shape and met our goals for accents and aesthetics. I know Purdue feels the same,” says Kurt Stahl, project manager for Hunt-Smoot Partnership, construction managers for the project. 

Duo-Gard’s local representative, Spohn Associates Inc., worked closely with contractor ASI Ltd. “We were proud to provide and install these canopies and pleased at the opportunity to be part of this exciting project, working with Hunt-Smoot Partnership,” says president Jack Spohn. 

Architect Mark Peters says the team considered several alternatives for the canopies, including laminated glass, fabric and metal. Laminated glass was too costly and fabric didn’t have the desired aesthetic. Neither did metal. Peters adds that PCSS was significantly more cost-effective and lent itself to the architectural objectives. 

In fact, today’s polycarbonate technology enjoys significant advances over earlier offerings. Weatherization is co-extruded right into the shatterproof sheet, ensuring color stability as it eliminates yellowing and loss of light. Self-extinguishing PCSS has excellent fire resistance. New thickesses and structural strengths allow for unprecedented possibilities.

“The use of PCSS is growing, based on performance and economics,” Peters says. It works especially well in canopy applications, he adds, because it’s available in long sheets, enabling designers to avoid joints; it’s lighter-weight than glass and curves easily, providing the exceptional flexibility architects demand in today’s designs. 

He calls Ross-Ade Stadium’s translucent canopies a good complement and says Purdue University is very positive about the upgrades.

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