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Steel Structure Trivia: Reigning Roof
Posted by Tasha Weiss on March 30, 2012 at 10:01 AM.


Here’s MSC’s second Steel Structure Trivia question! (We’ve decided to go a bit easier on you all for this one) Shown above is one of two 17-ft-wide by 35-ft-deep arch box trusses spanning 1,225 ft and supporting the world’s largest single-span roof structure. The question is: Can you identify what famous facility holds this retractable domed roof? Photo: Blake Marvin, HKS Inc.


Answer: This steel roof structure is part of none other than Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Not too far from where the upcoming NASCC: The Steel Conference will take place, April 18-20!) Congratulations to Jason Bastien with Professional Metal Works in Freeburg, Ill., Matt Thomas with Holabird & Root in Chicago, and Scott L., Texas A&M University, for being the first three people to submit the correct answer! And thank you to all who participated.


AISC member Walter P Moore served as lead structural engineer for the project. The $1.15 billion, 80,000-seat, three million sq. ft, retractable roof superstructure has set at least three structural engineering world records. It is the longest single-span roof structure in the world; it boasts the world’s largest center-hung HD video display board; and its operable glass doors are the world’s largest.


The 660,800-sq.-ft retractable roof features a 256-ft-wide by 410-ft-long roof opening. In addition, it has the first application of a rack-and-pinion retractable roof drive system in North America, which can open and close the bi-parting roof panels in less than 12 minutes.


The project received a President’s Award of Excellence in Engineering as part of AISC’s 2010 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS2) program.


You can read an in-depth description of the project in the May 2010 issue of MSC, available at, as well a feature article in the December 2008 issue, available at For more images of Cowboys Stadium, visit our slideshow gallery at


Think you have what it takes to win? You can test your steel structure knowledge right here on our MSC website on the last Friday of each month, where a new photo showing only a detailed portion of a steel structure will be posted to the Steel in the News section as our weekly “Steel Shot.” Your challenge is to correctly answer the trivia question provided in the news post, based on what you see in the photo. The next question will be posted at 10 a.m. (CDT) on Friday, April 27. 


backscratcher-007_sitn.jpgThe first three people who supply the correct answer will receive an MSC-branded stainless steel back scratcher! You’ll need it to successfully tackle those pesky itches after the trivia pressure subsides. (And check out that telescoping action! Wow!) Its five-fingered curved design reaches from 7 in. to 20 3/4 in. in length.



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