The Astrodome - The First Domed Stadium

Essay by brbbrb April 2005

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The construction of a sports stadium is a long, drawn out process that requires the involvement of a large amount of people. A finished stadium must incorporate a unique design for it to stand out as a professional sports stadium. And that is exactly what was accomplished in the construction of the Astrodome. The Astrodome became the world's first air-conditioned domed stadium for football and baseball; a construction feat that would put the city of Houston on the sports map.

There are several factors that determine how and where a stadium must be constructed. The first step in the construction process would be to acquire a parcel of land large enough to accommodate a domed stadium. The land for this stadium was acquired by a Judge Roy Hofheinz, a wealthy Houstonian political figure. Hofheinz had the dream of building a stadium that would bring major league baseball to the city of Houston, and he was rich and prominent enough to build a stadium that could start a major league baseball franchise in Houston.

The main construction plan of the Astrodome was to build a stadium in which baseball could be played inside. The reason Hofheinz wanted an indoor stadium was because Houston weather is very hot and very humid in the summer, the main season for baseball. An indoor air-conditioned stadium would mean comfort for the players and the fans. Hofheinz was inspired to build a domed stadium after seeing the Palazzeto dello Sporto, a domed stadium in Rome that used lamella trusses to span the distance of the stadium. The structure of the 208 foot tall Astrodome also uses lamella trusses to span its 712 foot diameter, much like that of the Palazzeto dello Sporto in Rome.

The Astrodome was one of the largest domed structures at...