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Pool/Ice Rink project at Flushing Meadows Corona Park Wins National Architecture and Engineering Award

July 27, 2009 from American Institute of Steel Construction

Structural steel accommodates flexibility and creativity for Olympic-sized facility

(Chicago, IL) – The pool/ice rink project at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Flushing, N.Y., has earned national recognition in the 2009 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2), and members of the project team will be presented with awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) during a public ceremony on Monday, July 27 at 2 pm on the pool/ice rink terrace. Conducted annually by AISC, the IDEAS2 awards recognize outstanding achievements in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects around the country.

Project team members include owner New York City Parks Department; owner's project manager New York City Economic Development Corporation; architect Handel Architects in Association with Kevin Hom + Andrew Goldman Architects, PC; structural engineer Geiger Engineers, Suffern, N.Y.; steel detailer and AISC member ADF Groupe, Inc., Terrebonne, Quebec; and general contractor Bovis Lend Lease LMB, Inc., N.Y.

The pool/ice rink project is a National Winner in the category of projects $15 million to $75 million, making it the only project around the country to earn an award in this category. Each year, the IDEAS2 awards honor National and Merit award winners in three categories, based on constructed value: projects less than $15 million; projects $15 million to $75 million; and projects greater than $75 million. Each project is judged on its use of structural steel, with an emphasis on creative solutions to project requirements; design innovation; aesthetic and visual impact of the project; innovative use of architecturally exposed structural steel; technical or architectural advances in the use of steel; the use of innovative design and construction methods; and sustainable design.

Although the pool/ice rink was planned as a recreation and community competition facility, the design of the project was commissioned at the time when New York was in the hunt for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. At the time, New York had limited indoor swimming facilities, and the new natatorium was programmed as the venue for water polo and synchronized swimming competitions. As such, the building design solution had to be economical both with respect to initial building cost as well as operational costs after the Olympic events.

Part of the goal was to keep the building volume at a minimum to reduce heating and cooling costs. To achieve this objective and assist the possibly of Olympic seating, a cable stayed suspended roof structure was chosen for the building, which also contains an ice rink.

To increase the structure's efficiency, the pool was placed in line with the ice rink; the masts that support the roof cables were located centrally above the wall that separates the pool from the rink, balancing the loads on the cables. A 300 foot long truss spans parallel to the pool, with its top chord forming the edge of the cable-stayed roof. The truss defines the area between the pool and the permanent legacy seating, and the bottom chord of the truss supports a lower roof over the legacy seating.

The structure above the pool deck consists of steel columns and girts, supporting the precast insulated wall panels as well as the glass facades that face south. The steel of the roof as well as the exterior columns are exposed to view; the roof structure is coated with a high-performance two-part epoxy, shop-applied and touched up in the field where required. The columns, girts, and bracings are coated with an intumescent paint for fire protection, matching the color of the roof structure.

Mark Carter, president of American Steel Fabricators Inc., a judge in the competition, commented, "The pool/ice rink project is a winner due to the structural, architectural, and functional uses of steel in design, which culminate in a dramatic impact that is both graceful and inspiring."

The 11 IDEAS2 winners for 2009 were chosen from nearly 100 submissions received by architectural and engineering firms throughout the U.S. Each submission is reviewed and award winners are selected by a nationally recognized panel of design and construction industry professionals.

The IDEAS2 awards are the highest project-based awards bestowed by the structural steel industry, with the annual program dating back over 70 years to the earliest years of AISC's existence. Roger E. Ferch, P.E. president of AISC, said, "The entire pool/ice rink project team has shown how structural steel can be used to create sustainable buildings that combine beauty and practicality. The result is a facility that serves its community extremely well, while providing an example of what can be achieved when designing and constructing projects with steel."


For more information contact:

Tasha O'Berski
Communications Department
(312) 670-5439
[email protected]

American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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