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Interference: How your stadium’s microclimate can change the game

An unexpected gust of wind during a field goal. The sun glares in the players’ eyes. Wind-driven rain creates havoc on the turf.

Mother Nature doesn’t get home advantage. Believe it or not, stadiums can prevent unwanted weather interference during a game. The design of the stadium is based on the understanding of how the climate outside (and the microclimate inside) can impact the play, as well as the fans’ and players’ levels of comfort during the game.

Long before fans take their seats, engineers and climate specialists can craft technically advanced solutions when designing a stadium to optimize conditions and ensure a positive relationship between the venue and the climate. Modern stadium designers can use a host of engineering tools, helping stadiums become iconic landmarks for their cities and sports fans for generations.

The Dallas Cowboys stadium (left) and a model built by RWDI.

Rise of the smart stadium 
The best venues keep everyone safe and comfortable, no matter the weather—and they only happen by design. With the expert analysis of engineers and climate scientists, “smart stadiums” can be equipped with meteorological stations that provide real-time wind and weather statistics to help support play of game. Well-designed footpaths and parking lots can all support safety and air quality—and even provide opportunities for renewable energy.

Sun and sound
Before kickoff, acoustic, noise and vibration studies help fans enjoy the action, and let athletes do their best work. Modeling and analysis help designers understand and manage glare and unwanted noise and vibration, while promoting air quality. Some modern stadiums even use wind forecasting and site-specific gust prediction to ensure safety and support the play of the game.

Architecture for athletes
Retractable roofs. Scoreboards and signage. Canopies and unusual facades. Large sports and entertainment venues often have unique features that can affect a game’s outcome. Engineers can test structures for wind effects, structural vibration and aerodynamics. Grappling with questions about the impact of elements like wind on a structure are becoming an important part of a modern winning game plan.

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