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Barclays Center Wins National Architecture and Engineering Award

October 29, 2013 from American Institute of Steel Construction

(Chicago, IL) – Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., has earned national recognition in the 2013 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2). In honor of this achievement, members of the project team will be presented with awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) during a ceremony at the project site on Wednesday, October 30, at noon.

Conducted annually by AISC, the IDEAS2 awards recognize outstanding achievement in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects across the country. The IDEAS2 award is the highest, most prestigious honor bestowed on building projects by the structural steel industry in the U.S. and recognizes the importance of teamwork, coordination and collaboration in fostering successful construction projects.

The project team members include:

  • Developer: Forest City Ratner Companies, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Architects: AECOM, Kansas City, Mo.; and SHoP Architects, New York
  • Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti, New York
  • General Contractor: Hunt Construction, Indianapolis
  • Steel Fabricator: Banker Steel Company, Lynchburg, Va. (AISC Member/AISC Certified Fabricator)
  • Steel Detailer: WSP Mountain Enterprises, Inc., Sharpsburg, Md. (AISC Member)

Barclays Center is a Merit award winner in the category of projects Greater than $75 Million, making it one of only eight projects around the country to receive the Merit honor. Each year, the IDEAS2 awards honor National and Merit award winners in three categories, based on constructed value. Each project is judged on its use of structural steel from both an architectural and structural engineering perspective, with an emphasis on: creative solutions to project’s program requirements; applications of innovative design approaches in areas such as connections, gravity systems, lateral load resisting systems, fire protection and blast; aesthetic and visual impact of the project; innovative use of architecturally exposed structural steel; technical or architectural advances in the use of the steel; and the use of innovative design and construction methods.

The new 675,000-sq.-ft Barclays Center, home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets, seats 18,103 and will host more than 200 sporting and cultural events annually (seating capacity increases to 19,000 for concerts). It features 95 luxury suites, four party suites, two conference suites, four bars/lounges, four clubs, a restaurant and several street-level retail stores.

The arena is in a tight urban setting near a subway station and train terminal, presenting unique challenges for the foundation system. The building was designed with a pair of truck elevators feeding a below-grade loading dock with a large truck turntable to facilitate turning. Columns in this region were transferred using large plate girders spanning over the dock.

The dominant feature of the arena is the weathering steel lattice that wraps the structure. Rows of steel panels envelop the exterior, including an entrance canopy that cantilevers 85 ft over the plaza. The façade design, with 12,000 pre-weathered steel panels, and the canopy were added a month after the GMP package was released and two months before the first steel mill order was due, requiring the team to develop the façade design while keeping pace with the original schedule. Nearly 1,000 tons of steel were added to support the façade, which also became a prominent design feature.

“This is the kind of bold design that becomes an instant landmark,” commented Chris Olson, chief content director of BUILDINGS Media, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and a judge in the competition.

Another major structural feature, the distinctive arched roof, spans more than 380 ft and is supported by a pair of 350-foot tied arch trusses spanning the long direction of the arena. The roof system geometry was further complicated by the additional loads imposed by the outer façade system. As such, the building lateral system and diaphragms were designed to resist thrust forces from the roof arches, which were minimized by use of the tension tie.

The primary load-carrying members of the canopy are a pair of box trusses cantilevering 85 ft beyond the column supports along the Atlantic Avenue face to the north and the Flatbush Avenue face to the southwest. Each box truss consists of a pair of planar trusses ranging from 8 ft to 12 ft deep and laced together with horizontal bracing. The planar trusses have W14 chords turned web-horizontal to maximize out-of-plane stiffness with W14 braces and verticals shop welded to the chords. Field splices between trusses consist of bolted flange plate connections. Another box truss spans at the leading edge of the canopy between the tips of the Atlantic and Flatbush trusses.

Three planar trusses frame out an inner “oculus” in the center of the canopy. Supplemental steel is provided within the oculus and at the perimeter to support the latticework façade. Additional supplemental steel hangs below the truss structure to create the supplemental framework to support the “pouch.” The structural engineer, Thornton Tomasetti, provided Tekla models, connection samples and full connection design, which allowed the team to produce models quickly, store large quantities of information and coordinate with the entire team. Even from its initial design, the project constantly pushed the limits of BIM and educated staff about the use of several different programs and ways to link and automate processes. The complex geometry of the façade and the shortened schedule meant that the team needed to coordinate in a 3D environment and provide the information to the contractor in this format as well.

The 13 IDEAS2 winners for 2013 were chosen from nearly 100 submissions received from 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 award dates back more than 70 years to the earliest years of AISC’s existence. Roger E. Ferch, P.E., president of AISC, said, “The entire Barclays Center project team has shown how structural steel can be used to create structures that combine beauty and practicality. The result is a multi-purpose arena that serves its purpose extremely well, while providing an example of what can be achieved when designing and constructing projects with steel.”

High-resolution images of the Barclays Center project are available upon request by contacting AISC’s Tasha Weiss at 312.670.5439, [email protected]. To learn more about the IDEAS2 awards and to view all of this year’s winning projects, visit www.aisc.org/ideas2.


Barclays Center
Photo Credit: Bess Adler


For more information contact:

Tasha Weiss
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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