There are a few holes in HKS’s stadium design for the Los Angeles Rams. In fact, there are 20 million. By numbers HKS has gone big: The $2.66 billion, 70,000-seater-stadium will use more than 36,000 panels of which will have 20 million perforations punched into them.
Dallas-based HKS prescribed an aluminum and ETFE skin to create a triangular facade-cum-canopy over and around the playing field where the Los Angeles Rams are set to play. Triangular panels form the structure too. Made from aluminum, the metal portion of the skin responds to the variable SoCal climate without the need for a HVAC system. Additionally, an ETFE ellipse, located in the center of the roof bathes the playing field in diffuse daylight. The desired effect, HKS said, is to create the impression of being outside.
A Design Assist project with facade fabricator Zahner Metals, HKS used their research and development arm, HKS LINE (the latter acronym stands for “Laboratory for INtensive Exploration”) to aid the development of the stadium’s skin. James Warton, a computational designer at HKS, spoke to The Architect’s Newspaper, about the process used to conceive the facade.
Warton explained that the holes inside the in the triangular panels form an image on the facade, which can be seen properly when approaching the stadium from afar. Due to fabrication logistics and schedule, “only” 20 million perforations could be made with a required minimum distance of half-an-inch between each one. To get around this, though, eight different hole sizes were used to allow perforations to fall neatly in line with the panel’s edge as well as enhance the facade’s pattern.
To do this, a strategy using, Grasshopper, Rhino, C++ and Visual Studio was conceived which let HKS LINE determine perforation density and mapping. “Perforation sizes corresponding to grayscale values within the source image are also mapped onto the panel,” said Warton. “We had to think of a system that would enable us to see every bit of information about every tile. This information is translated into text that can be used to make the panel.”
The stadium, when completed in 2019, will be the world’s most expensive. James Warton will be speaking at the next Facades+ conference in New York April 6+7. There he and other members of HKS will discuss the Los Angeles Rams stadium and its facade in further detail. Seating is limited. To register, go to facadesplus.com