NRG Stadium in Houston

Photo of NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz
Photo of NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz
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Photo of NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz
Photo of NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz
Photo of NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz
Photo of NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz
Photo of NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz
Photo of NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz
Photo of NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz

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NRG Stadium
Formerly:Reliant Stadium

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One of the most important architectural pieces since the downtown baseball park, Reliant Stadium is another key piece of the rebirth of Houston. But while Minute Maid park concentrated on turning a sports venue into an intimate experience, Reliant Stadium went the other way. It had no choice. This thing is big. 1,900,000 square feet. The playing field alone covers 97,000 square feet. The seating can be arranged to accommodate 72,000 fans, plus those watching from the 221 luxury boxes. But perhaps the most dramatic demonstration of its scale is from the air. Flying above Reliant Stadium you can see how it easily dwarfs the Astrodome, and could very easily swallow what was once one of the world's architectural wonders. Another way Reliant Stadium differs from Minute Maid Park is that it is a multi-purpose facility. It will be used for professional football, RodeoHouston, concerts, track-and-field events, and conventions. At the time of its opening, it was estimated that Reliant Stadium and Reliant Park would host more than 400 events each year. The thing the creators were most excited about is the roof. It is the first retractable roof in the National Football League. Some say it's the world's first football stadium with a retractable roof, but that is more marketing hype than fact. The roof moves on a steel "supertruss" 960 feet long, and up to 75 feet wide. It is made of fabric which lets light in so the grass doesn't die � a lesson its small neighbor learned the hard way. When it opened, the stadium also features the NFL's largest scoreboards � 42 x 275 feet each. In Reliant Stadium, it's not just the playing field that is green. What used to be a uniformly concrete parking lot is being peppered with 2,200 trees. The trees will provide shade for walkways and other areas. There will also be grass, and water features that double as flood control measures. The playing field is natural grass growing in 8 x 8 foot metal trays. The roof is 500 x 385 feet. It takes ten to 12 minutes to open or close the roof. The roof is made of translucent fiberglass fabric coated with Teflon. It allows light through, even when it is closed. There are 11 elevators, 20 escalators, four stairwells, and four pedestrian ramps. It took 17,274 tons of steel to build Reliant Stadium. It took 160,000 cubic yards of concrete to build Reliant Stadium. 423 tons of bolts hold the stadium together.

Quick Facts
Notes
    >It took more than 1,065 daily workers to assemble the stadium.<br> >The stadium contains 17,274 tons of structural steel.<br> >The stadium contains 160,000 cubic yards of concrete.<br> >The stadium skin is 50% glass.<br> >It takes ten to 12 minutes to open the roof.<br> >Reliant Stadium can seat between 69,560 and 72,000 spectators.<br> >The roof is 265 feet off the playing field.<br> >When configured for football, the playing field has 97,000 square feet of grass.<br> >The roof opening is 500 feet long, and 385 feet wide.<br> >There are 14 press boxes with 240 workstations.<br> >There are two scoreboards. each is 42 feet tall and 275 feet wide.<br> >The video portion of the scoreboards is 24 feet tall and 96.5 feet wide.<br> >There are 11 elevators.<br> >There are 20 escalators.<br> >There are four stairways accessable to the public.<br> >9 March, 2001 - Groundbreaking for the new stadium.<br> >1 October, 2001 - The stadium is officially topped off.<br> >24 June, 2002 - The Houston Chronicle reports that the stadium's price tag will increase from $367,000,000.00 to $449,000,000.00 to cover the cost of extra restrooms, more parking, landscaping, and additional concession areas.<br> >13 August, 2002 - KHOU Television (channels 11 and 31) reports that the stadium failed the flush test. Scores of children were enlisted to simultaneously flush all of the toilets in the stadium to test the plumbing. One part backed up, filling some areas of the stadium with water several inches deep. It is believed that construction debris caused a clog in the system.<br> >16 August, 2002 - During the official ribbon cutting ceremony, an unceremonious thunderstorm erupted. Water gushed through the retractable roof because the bladder system that fills in the gaps when the roof is closed hadn't been installed yet.<br> >18 August, 2002 - The public is invited to tour the stadium for free.<br> >25 January, 2003 - The first concert is held in Reliant Stadium. The acoustics are so bad that many people call location radio stations asking how to get their money back. Newspapers and television stations also lead with the story. Reliant officials promise it will get better.<br> >February, 2003 - For the first time the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is held in Reliant Stadium.
Quotations
    "Breathtaking. I don't know of a better way to describe this stadium than breathtaking."
    - NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue Houston Chronicle 16 May, 2002.

    "To think that you can get that number of fans in here and have the flexibility with the weather, I don't know that I've ever been more impressed with a stadium."
    - Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones Houston Chronicle 16 May, 2002.

    "I couldn't get the stadium built, but I'm going to claim that I was the catalyst ... Drayton McLane got his new baseball stadium shortly after we exited, and now they have this magnificent new football stadium for the Texans. And the Rockets' new arena will be finished soon, so I think it says a lot about Houston to have three new facilities ... This is a great stadium . It's fantastic. Being able to play with the roof open or closed will be great for the fans. I'm happy they got a team back. I know the other owners are happy to have a team in Houston again. I think Houston deserved to have another NFL team. They're lucky to have a guy like Bob to step up and do what it took to get another team."
    - Tennessee Titans (former Houston Oilers) owner, Bud Adams, who moved his team out of Houston because the voters would not give him a new stadium. Houston Chronicle 16 May, 2002
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