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New Stadium's Daylighting System by Duo-Gard Echoes "Forever Orange!" Rallying Cry of the Houston Dynamo


July 24, 2012 - Canton, MI

When Houston's new BBVA Compass Stadium opened in May this year, Houston Dynamo fans were welcomed with a brilliant display of the soccer team's distinctive orange brand.

Designed by Populous in Kansas City MO, an architectural firm renowned internationally for its sports facilities, the $95-million, open-air stadium features four enclosed entrances glazed in a vibrant shade of orange polycarbonate. The angular, geometric entrance systems were custom-engineered by Duo-Gard Industries Inc. in Canton MI. The company is known for its innovations in architectural glazing systems, especially high-performance translucent polycarbonate technology.

"The geometric shapes express the muscularity of the game," said Jeff Spear, AIA NCARB, lead project designer and Populous associate principal, "and the orange facade brings the Dynamo brand to the forefront. We wanted something light to accent the entrances to the building. At night, the stadium glows from the inside out, and during the day, from the outside in."

Spear said the stadium's design reflects Houston's industrial heritage as it incorporates a metal mesh skin and concrete block sidewalls. "Lots of buildings in this area were metal warehouses," he said. "The mesh allows breezes to blow through and the block adds character."

This 22,000-seat stadium is the 12th soccer-specific facility in the MLS and the first to be located in a downtown area. It also sports another first within its unique entrances.

"The entrance system we designed and engineered for the stadium is the first application in America of a new 50mm multiwall polycarbonate with a tongue-and-groove connection," said David Miller, Duo-Gard's president. "This material reduces the need for vertical mullions, and this adds to cost savings as it increases design flexibility." The material is Lexan* Thermoclick* from AmeriLux International LLC.

Miller said creating the angles and planes of the entrances presented interesting challenges for Duo-Gard's engineering team. "The abstract geodesic shapes set at varying angles required us to create custom glazing channels," said Frank Kosciolek, engineering manager. "This shape is a first of its kind for us because usually we work with vertical or sloped surfaces. These planes were unusual and required a different approach."

First step in the approach was sample modeling in 3-D, which Kosciolek said was invaluable. He said the stadium's facade structure included 10" round tubes that presented attachment considerations. "The glazing panels are spaced with a 2" reveal between sections, so we designed a one-of-a-kind custom break metal for attachment," he added. The engineers created custom soffits to accommodate the entrance doors, inset into the entrance and glazed in 25mm orange polycarbonate.

The new translucent polycarbonate Thermoclick* enhances the "lightness" the architects wanted to achieve, and it allows 28% diffuse light transmission. The 9-wall material also adds a thermal advantage with U-value 0.17, R-value 5.68 and shading co-efficient 0.51. Its weight at only 1.055 lbs. per square foot is far less than glass, offering greater design flexibility. And the material will maintain its "Forever Orange!" status through special co-extruded UV protection.

"We're proud to have our system included in the 'firsts' for this exceptional sports venue," said Duo-Gard's David Miller. "We hope it adds new meaning to the cry of Forever Orange!"

Chances of that are good. "Reaction is extremely positive," said architect Jeff Spear. "The games are sold out, and the stadium is performing as we hoped."

The BBVA Compass Stadium for the Houston Dynamo is the second collaboration for Populous and Duo-Gard. LiveSTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City KS, designed by Populous, features a custom translucent canopy system by Duo-Gard.

About Duo-Gard Industries Inc.:
Duo-Gard Industries Inc. is a leading innovator in high-performance translucent daylighting systems and architectural illumination, as well as custom canopies, shelters and outdoor structures. For over 28 years, Duo-Gard has advanced translucent technology with design, engineering, fabrication and installation of custom architectural products that enhance sustainability. Duo-Gard was established in 1984 and is based in Canton MI. The company was honored in May 2012 as one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch in 2012. For additional information, please visit www.duo-gard.com.

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