Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Exhibit Highlights Superdome

Tulane University’s Southeastern Architectural Archive has announced a new exhibition:

In celebration of Super Bowl XLVII and in anticipation of the 40th Anniversary of the Louisiana Superdome, this exhibition documents the structure’s early history.  Beginning with a 1966 public referendum to establish a Louisiana Exposition and Stadium District to build a domed stadium in New Orleans, the project rapidly progressed through an exhaustive site selection phase. Governor John McKeithen proclaimed it the best thing to happen to the state since the Louisiana Purchase.

Before the structure was even begun the vox popoli had established it as “the superdome.” By summer 1967, a design team led by Nathaniel C. Curtis, Jr. was developing conceptual models. He stressed the building’s legacy as a classical amphitheatre envisioned in modern terms, a challenge to both the past and the future. His team developed the space around the spectators, then subjected the designs to computer analysis in order to determine the appropriate structural system. Additional modifications were made due to the city’s high water table and the need for the building to withstand hurricane-force winds. Helicopters delivered final building materials to the dome when cranes could no longer reach.

The resultant stadium sits on a platform twenty-five feet above grade and features a five-thousand ton dome supported by a tension ring comprised of twenty-four prefabricated sections that were welded in place. After eight years of labor, employing over one thousand people, and costing over $163 million, the Louisiana Superdome required “the unrelenting efforts of people who were not afraid to make a dream come true.”

The Dome
17 January 2013  -- 1 November 2013

Image above:

Art Associates, Illustrators.  The Louisiana Stadium. Presentation rendering. Undated. Curtis & Davis Office Records, The Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

1 comment:

Dr Lori said...

Interesting topic and timely exhibit. Thanks.