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View Full Version : Sprint Center coming together. That place is going to rock.


BigRedChief
03-06-2007, 08:23 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/16829148.htm
http://www.kansascity.com/images/kansascity/kansascitystar/news/SPRINTGLASS_ME_022807_DRE_156f_03-04-2007_6DR42GL.jpg
Behold, direct from China, Kansas City’s Great Wall of Glass.
The shimmering surface of the Sprint Center is spreading fast, and views from the inside make the city look — believe it when you see it — happening.
“See that?” architect Craig Milde said, stepping from the main concourse into the arena’s bowl and pointing to a wide opening at the opposite end. There’s downtown, tapping on the glass. During a game, fans will see from their seats those shiny skyscrapers peeking in.
This view comes courtesy of workers in China’s Guangdong province, where the glass was poured and fitted.
Motorists today look at the arena and simply see glass going up. But there is a story behind it all.
It’s about the global economy. It’s about art. It’s about extreme precision, money, Customs agents, money, something called “frit” and its friend, money. It’s about erecting a durable and visually striking “curtain wall” without running out of … you know.
“We were able to provide Kansas City a spectacular facility and still make it cost effective,” boasted Gina Leo, a spokeswoman for HOK Sport, one of the local architectural firms that collaborated on the arena’s design.
The story begins a year ago on the floor of an old brick building at 18th and McGee streets.
Skin game
For many nights, Milde, 40, sat on the floor of the Downtown Arena Design Team’s office, giant sheets of paper and colored markers spread around him.
Ryan Gedney, a project designer then in his 20s, stared at an arena mock-up on a computer screen and rattled off: “One-third left. Two-thirds right. Clear. Two-thirds left …”
With each instruction, Milde worked his colored markers in an elaborate tic-tac-toe game on 2,204 tiny squares.
Each square represented a pane of glass. The pattern on paper ultimately stretched 30 feet, covering the floor like a multicolored bar code.
This pattern would appear on the arena’s “skin” — a wrap of flat glass panes bordered by aluminum strips.
From a distance, the panes on the $276 million arena appear identical — rectangular, roughly 12 feet by 5 feet … just slap them on. In fact, all but a few dozen are unique — each of them designed for a precise spot, and no other spot, on the building’s skin.
Each pane had to be numbered. To fit correctly on the oval exterior, many panes were slightly wider at the bottom than at the top, or vice versa. All told, the design team ordered 128 sizes.
“If you break one putting it up, you can’t just use the next pane in the stack,” a construction worker said last week.
Then there’s the frit factor.
“Frit” is fabricated into some panes to provide a dappled effect, a subtle shade from the sunbeams. Round bits of ceramic paint, the size of paper-punch holes, make up the frit. Bunched vertically, they form straight fields of gray covering one-third or two-thirds of an otherwise clear pane.
Most of the frit will be found on the sunny side.
To jazz things up aesthetically, 66 panes are amber-colored. (The designers originally pitched a shade of chartreuse, but Mayor Kay Barnes preferred amber.)
It’s curtains for sure
When bids for the glass were let, planners estimated the cost at $11.2 million. No bid came in at less than $11.5 million, so the package was rebid with suggestions to cut costs.
Enter Architectural Wall Systems Co. of Des Moines, Iowa. AWS erected the blue-green glass on The Kansas City Star’s Press Pavilion, across the freeway from the arena.
AWS does “curtain walls.”
Shiny and generally more affordable than solid load-bearing walls, curtain walls have been around for a century. (The first in Kansas City were in the Boley Building, built in 1909 at 11th and Walnut streets.)
The distinguishing feature of curtain walls, physics-wise, is that they don’t hold up a building.
A curtain-wall expert — Patrick Loughran of the Chicago architectural firm Goettsch Partners — said elephants could charge through the Sprint Center concourse and their weight would not be felt by the glass outside. The arena’s structure is independent of the curtain. Not even the roof will put weight on the glass.
“It’s by no means cutting edge,” Loughran said while looking at the arena design on a Sprint Center Web site. “The panes of a curtain wall are not exactly assembled like Legos, but it’s similar: You snap them in, slide them down.”
The challenge, Loughran said, is in mastering the elliptical shape of this wall and its pane-by-pane design.
AWS took the challenge and presented a project bid of an agreeable $10.2 million.
How? Think “Made in China.”
Just off the boat
Having spent those long nights on the office floor mapping the design of the curtain wall, Milde and Gedney faced the prospect of handing it all over to foreign-speaking workers half a world away.
“I was concerned … about things getting lost in translation,” Milde said.
But once planners whittled down the cost of their wall, AWS was the only bidder to step up. So Kansas City overlooked its “Buy American” policy, which states that city projects should use U.S. material whenever possible.
“I can see that building from my office on Locust,” lamented Jack Carter, the president of Carter Glass Company Inc. “All this globalization malarkey…
“The promise (of the global economy) was that high-tech jobs would be flowing into our country because we had the facilities. But now it’s all going to the cheap-labor countries.”
Carter conceded that to stay competitive, “we’re looking at China, as well. We don’t want to, but you can’t get beat by $2 million on every $10 million glass project.”
Chicago architect Loughran, who wrote a book on modern glass architecture, said: “China does have brand new facilities for fabricating glass, but is that a good thing? There’s a learning curve” in all manufacturing.
The intricacy of the Sprint Center design didn’t ease worries: Numbered panes, various sizes, specific frit patterns — all had to be translated to metric and precisely executed by Chinese manufacturers Sanxin Inc., in Shenzhen, and AMC Limited in Dongguan.
“We had two companies doing two different things — one to make the glass and one to assemble our frames” around the glass, said AWS President Mike Cunningham. Representatives of his company supervised the work in China.
An AWS project manager made sure all panes were stacked and shipped to Kansas City in the order they would be installed: pane 117-A atop 118-A, and so on.
The first batch arrived last summer at a port in Long Beach, Calif. Just one rack of a dozen panes approached 6 tons. Off the boat, the racks were loaded into boxcars and shipped to a rail yard in North Kansas City, where U.S. Customs officials inspected them.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector showed up at the checkpoint and, with a flashlight, combed the shipment for foreign snails and insects that might harm American crops.
After crossing the Pacific, only a few panes arrived at the work site cracked— and those were damaged on a truck bouncing on Kansas City roads.
I seal your pane
“If all these panes were the same? Boring,” project architect Milde said, walking along a concourse where the curtain was nearly complete.
Climbing steps that offer a bird’s eye view of Interstate 635, he paused at Level 5 to watch up-close the wall being built.
It works this way: Seven steel, horizontal pipes encircle the arena like a hoop skirt. Along the pipes are window anchors — 4,498 in all — each with a couple sets of nuts and bolts. A crane lifts a 700-pound pane with hooks on top to its designated spot, this one being 215-E.
A guy named Brandon in a cherry picker dabs black stuff on the anchor bolts and snaps a photograph. The pane swings into place, to be hung from the top of the pipe, where an ironworker named Mike waits.
One side of the aluminum frame is “female,” the other “male.” The edges snap into the next pane, and that pane into the next.
Four bolts hold each pane in place. Mike twists the anchor nuts with a wrench that others might use to fix a lawn mower. Done.
Elapsed time from ground to pipe to installed: 20 minutes.
“Like hanging a curtain,” said AWS supervisor Rich Griglione.
And this “curtain” will withstand rain, hail and our wicked prairie gusts?
“No doubt,” Griglione said. The panes were built to take 139 mph winds, and AWS has done the testing — once using a roaring aircraft engine pointed directly at a mock-up.
As the curtain starts to close, some concerns linger: It is not bulletproof, and the replacement cost for one broken pane is about $5,000.
Milde also is bracing for the “golden spike” moment. With glass spreading in both directions from the northwest, the two fronts will meet on the arena’s south side — all panes aligned perfectly, he hopes.
“You can’t have something standing out like a glass zipper,” he said. “Not on this building.”
He will know next month, when the final pane is hung, if China got it just right.
http://www.kansascity.com/multimedia/kansascity/KRT_Packages/slideshow/Sprint_show_final/images/r%20sprint.jpg

BigRedChief
03-06-2007, 08:26 AM
It's going to be really cool to be sitting in your seat and see the downtown landscape outside the building. Once they get that entertainment district built it will be really cool to see all that from your seat.

But a WTF monent here............The glass isn't bulletproof? They are going to be spending $5,000 every time someone wants to take a shot at it?

Ari Chi3fs
03-06-2007, 08:27 AM
$5,000 a pane? in downtown KC? How many gunshots will those things take?

Lzen
03-06-2007, 08:34 AM
When is this thing supposed to open? I thought it was supposed to be this Spring. From those pics, it doesn't even look close to being done.

jiveturkey
03-06-2007, 08:43 AM
When is this thing supposed to open? I thought it was supposed to be this Spring. From those pics, it doesn't even look close to being done.
It's always been the Fall. I believe October.

cookster50
03-06-2007, 08:51 AM
It's going to be really cool to be sitting in your seat and see the downtown landscape outside the building. Once they get that entertainment district built it will be really cool to see all that from your seat.

But a WTF monent here............The glass isn't bulletproof? They are going to be spending $5,000 every time someone wants to take a shot at it?
It's a good thing they made this well known, now I can see a nightly ritual involving drive by glass pane shattering......

mikeyis4dcats.
03-06-2007, 09:05 AM
It's a good thing they made this well known, now I can see a nightly ritual involving drive by glass pane shattering......

yeah, sure somebody was bound to think of it, but now they've just given all of KC Metro's thugs a great idea.

Skip Towne
03-06-2007, 09:07 AM
KU will own that place. Might as well paint a Jayhawk on the floor.

Reerun_KC
03-06-2007, 09:21 AM
yeah, sure somebody was bound to think of it, but now they've just given all of KC Metro's thugs a great idea.


Isn't KC just a wonderful city?

HonestChieffan
03-06-2007, 09:29 AM
I was so dissappointed to see that all the glass was made in China. Its clear to me that people do not give a damn about this country. The city should be held accountable and every one of the bastards tossed out for that. I will be the lone one to say this but I hope they never get a team of any kind and the place rots from non use.

cookster50
03-06-2007, 10:36 AM
yeah, sure somebody was bound to think of it, but now they've just given all of KC Metro's thugs a great idea.
Let's just hope we don't get an NBA team.

jiveturkey
03-06-2007, 10:48 AM
I was so dissappointed to see that all the glass was made in China. Its clear to me that people do not give a damn about this country. The city should be held accountable and every one of the bastards tossed out for that. I will be the lone one to say this but I hope they never get a team of any kind and the place rots from non use.
It sounds like someone hates capitalism.

Bearcat
03-06-2007, 10:48 AM
I was so dissappointed to see that all the glass was made in China. Its clear to me that people do not give a damn about this country. The city should be held accountable and every one of the bastards tossed out for that. I will be the lone one to say this but I hope they never get a team of any kind and the place rots from non use.

Welcome to 2007...

http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/0374292795.01._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

Cochise
03-06-2007, 11:04 AM
No.... no way will this arena with its Chinese glass ever result in a net gain for the US economy... those bastards should be thrown out... :rolleyes:

Bearcat
03-06-2007, 11:07 AM
It's going to be really cool to be sitting in your seat and see the downtown landscape outside the building. Once they get that entertainment district built it will be really cool to see all that from your seat.

But a WTF monent here............The glass isn't bulletproof? They are going to be spending $5,000 every time someone wants to take a shot at it?

And if you can see the H&R Block building from your seat, maybe you can see hockey from across the street :D (okay, maybe not... ;) ). Counting down until I can take the bus (or walk) from my parking spot at Crown Center to eat and watch an NHL game, or the Big 12 Tournament... :drool:


That is really strange, especially with 128 different sizes.. you would almost need a whole other arena here as a quick backup.

Ultra Peanut
03-06-2007, 11:12 AM
gawddamn chink bastards i didn't go to vietnam for this

Scaga
03-06-2007, 11:17 AM
I was so dissappointed to see that all the glass was made in China. Its clear to me that people do not give a damn about this country. The city should be held accountable and every one of the bastards tossed out for that. I will be the lone one to say this but I hope they never get a team of any kind and the place rots from non use.

Hope you don't ever want to fly anywhere....Those darn planes are made all over the place. :rolleyes:

Mr. Laz
03-06-2007, 11:19 AM
Guns don't kill Glass, People Kill Glass

StcChief
03-06-2007, 12:16 PM
Looks very cool.
Designed much better than Keil/Savvis/ScotTrade center in STL.

Bowser
03-06-2007, 12:20 PM
I was so dissappointed to see that all the glass was made in China. Its clear to me that people do not give a damn about this country. The city should be held accountable and every one of the bastards tossed out for that. I will be the lone one to say this but I hope they never get a team of any kind and the place rots from non use.

I move that we change HonestChieffan's name to Turd ina Punchbowl. Anyone second this motion?

|Zach|
03-06-2007, 05:06 PM
Guns don't kill Glass, People Kill Glass
Nice

Ari Chi3fs
03-06-2007, 05:10 PM
Guns don't kill Glass, People Kill Glass

David Glass died? Few people cried.

Logical
03-06-2007, 05:59 PM
All this and the possibility of a tornado?

What does that spell?

TRAGEDY

jiveturkey
03-06-2007, 06:05 PM
All this and the possibility of a tornado?

What does that spell?

TRAGEDYAll of downtown is glass.

beer bacon
03-06-2007, 06:06 PM
We are doomed :(

Bob Dole
03-06-2007, 06:58 PM
Looks very cool.
Designed much better than Keil/Savvis/ScotTrade center in STL.

Not possible. Everything is St. Louis is superior to anything in KC.

OnTheWarpath58
03-06-2007, 07:04 PM
Not possible. Everything is St. Louis is superior to anything in KC.

I'm picking up on your sarcasm.....

But seriously......everything sucks here compared to KC. With the exception of the new Busch Stadium. I've always enjoyed watching a game at the K. Just not the team.

Arrowhead is WAY better than that 66,000 seat bingo parlor the Rams play in.

Scottrade is OK.

Logical
03-06-2007, 07:57 PM
All of downtown is glass.All of downtown is not gonna have around 20000 people exposed to all that glass simultaneously.

jiveturkey
03-06-2007, 08:00 PM
All of downtown is not gonna have around 20000 people exposed to all that glass simultaneously.Why would everyone be standing in the concourse during a tornado?

Bob Dole
04-23-2007, 09:56 AM
It's coming along nicely for the Kings' return to KC.

http://www.sprintcenter.com/arena_webcam.php

Brock
04-23-2007, 10:21 AM
All this and the possibility of a tornado?

What does that spell?

TRAGEDY

:rolleyes: Have you been outside this year, if so I'd be surprised.

Logical
04-23-2007, 10:46 AM
:rolleyes: Have you been outside this year, if so I'd be surprised.Yes I have, but I am not sure what being outside in San Diego has to do with this topic.

Brock
04-23-2007, 10:47 AM
Yes I have, but I am not sure what being outside in San Diego has to do with this topic.

I'm surprised you're not propped up in a doorway in anticipation of the next earthquake.