Assembly Hall - University of Illinois
The First Concrete Domed Sport Structure, 1967
Assembly Hall at the University of Illinois (U of I) in Urbana,
Illinois, the first concrete domed sport structure, was completed
in 1963. It was designed by U of I alumnus Max Abramovitz, whose
firm also designed the United Nations Buildings, part of the
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Krannert Center for
the Performing Arts on the U of I campus. Engineers for the
project were Amman & Whitney Consulting Engineers.
Concrete contractors built the 128 feet high hall, with a
dome spanning 400 feet of ribbed reinforced concrete in a
folded-plate design that tapers to a mere 3.5 inch thickness.
The dome was first cast on falsework. The ring-beam on which
it was placed was prestressed by wrapping 614 miles of one-quarter
inch steel wire under high tension around it. This made the
dome self-supporting. The dome was the first of its kind,
and at one time it was one of only two edge-supported domes
in existence. Total cost of the project was $8.5 million.
Assembly Hall is considered an engineering marvel because
of Abramovitz's concrete contractors used prestressed concrete
in a way it had never been used before. Previously, buildings
had been constructed of posts, lintels, arches or shells.
Abramovitz was interested in seeing whether contractors would
continue to use his prestressed technique in the way he designed
it or if it would be refined in a way to fit in with the previously
Assembly Hall had not undergone any renovations since it
was completed in 1963, so while the building was once state-of-the-art,
by the 1990s it was determined to lack some necessary facilities.
The university decided to remedy these problems in 1996 by
adding 50,000 square feet of underground receiving and storage
areas. Also part of the renovation was a pressroom accessible
by elevator, three receiving docks, a 329-foot long open ramp
and a 141-foot long reinforced concrete tunnel.
Despite the changes, Abramovitz's vision remained very nearly
the same. His concrete wonder now sports a plaza for vehicles
and a new tunnel drive but otherwise remained unchanged.
Moore Construction Company
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a leading concrete construction company in Texas. The company is a member of AGC and the OSHA Local Partnership Program.
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Association (TCA). Founded in 1986, the TCA is the country's largest organization
for the advancement of site-cast Tilt-Up construction, a method in which concrete
wall panels are cast on-site and tilted into place. Sustaining members of the
TCA are major industry leaders who have committed to an advanced level of involvement
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