The recent announcement of the construction of a new ballpark for the Birmingham Barons Baseball club was met with much excitement and anticipation from the local community. As this project would be a major development for the city, it was important that the design theme connected with the history, people, and culture of the City of Birmingham Alabama.
Birmingham is often associated with industry- or more specifically, the manufacturing of steel. And based on the look of the completed stadium, one can easily see that the architect chose the exposed structural steel and the elaborate truss system over the main concourse as “signature design elements” chosen to represent the industrial history of the City of Birmingham.
The truss system that spans the concourse parallel to the first base line was designed after the famed Sloss Furnace located in Birmingham not far from the location of the new stadium. (See photo to the right).
Although the trusses that were designed provided an excellent effect, they were significantly over-budget as currently engineered. If they were to remain part of the completed project they would need to be more efficiently designed- that is when the general contractor, Robins and Morton turned to the structural steel community for assistance.
CMC was among the group of steel fabricators selected to submit a proposal for the fabrication and erection of the structural framing system- including the development of a more economical design concept for the large “A” frame trusses. Recognizing that the “Sloss Furnace look” could be achieved with a properly engineered joist, CMC contacted Scott Dover- District Sales Manager for Vulcraft of Fort Payne, Alabama for assistance. Working together, CMC and Vulcraft successfully developed a joist to serve as a “substitute” for the structural trusses- allowing the signature element to remain part of the completed stadium.
Location: Birmingham, Alabama
Entract/Consulting Engineer: CMC Structural
Architect: H. Ralph Hawkins, HKS Architects Inc.
General Contractor: Robins & Morton / AG Gaston Construction