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BMT contributes to an award-winning stadium design

The extension of the San Mames football stadium is considered a triumph of structural engineering.

20 February 2018

BMT contributes to an award-winning stadium design

At the recent Structural Awards presented by the Institution of Structural Engineers the ‘Award for Long Span Structures’ was awarded to the impressive San Mames football stadium in Bilbao, Spain. Its innovative double layer cable-roof extension designed by IDOM increased the roof span by 13 to 23m, minimising the required reinforcements on the original roof, and enabling a record construction time without any disruption to football games.

When the designers of the stadium, IDOM, required a roof upgraded to improve the spectators’ comfort on rainy days, they turned to BMT. Using boundary layer wind tunnel testing, BMT was able to quantify the additional wind loading for the extended configuration of the roof. BMT also accurately captured the complex wind-driven phenomenon within the stadium through a seamless integration of experimental wind tunnel testing and the sophisticated CFD numerical analysis carried out by IDOM and BMT.

“The extension of the San Mames football stadium roof in Bilbao is a triumph of structural engineering in several different ways”, commented the judges at the Structural Awards. “Arising from a need to improve spectator comfort on rainy days, a new lightweight roof has been delicately poised within the existing stadium roof opening. The new structure extension has resulted in maximum projections of up to 75m. The entire roof extension structure of around 680 tonnes was assembled, lifted into position and sequentially tensioned in a period of just two months during the stadium’s summer closure period.”

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