Photo Finish: Dynamic Graphics for TrackTown USA

February 16, 2022

Marking the centennial celebration of the University of Oregon’s legendary Hayward Field, the stadium was scheduled to become a completely reimagined venue for the Track and Field 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials—an event taking place on the world stage. The University, known as TrackTown USA for its longtime dedication to the sport, embraced the opportunity to create a state-of-the-art track and field facility designed and built entirely around the elite athletes and dedicated fans it would house.

The design team at Seattle-based SRG Partnership was charged with bringing this stadium to the forefront of athletic facilities while also honoring its rich past which elevated the sport nationwide and brought continued notoriety to the University.

Down the Finish Line
Due to the nature of track and field races, the hot ticket is as close to the Finish Line as possible. Knowing this, the design team at SRG Partnership planned a stadium that would be able to accommodate the largest amount of people at the most desirable sightline. This meant that the classic, colosseum shape of the stadium would be stretched to rise up at the point of the finish line, making an asymmetrical form.

Light and Fast
Figueroa says typically what you see under the bowl of a stadium is all its inner workings, such as plumbing, hydraulics and HVAC services. But SRG’s design team wanted to hide all the unsightly mechanical that can usually be seen when strolling a stadium concourse. The design would need to obscure, but also comply with requirements for essential ventilation requirements.

Precision Wiggle Room
Regional Sales Director of the Architectural Division, Shawn Crismond led the team into the project. He determined that the main technical and artistic challenges would lie in feats that had never yet been achieved using metal mesh before. Known for its technical ability with woven metal mesh material as a modern architectural building solution, the GKD team was no stranger to specifications that push the material’s aesthetics and technical precision.

Etched to Perfection
With the mock-up fully optimized, Project Engineer Roger Kahl was able to render each of the 276 unique T316L stainless steel mesh panels. The next challenge however, presented in the custom-etched graphics that portrayed the history of the stadium. The art depicting handwritten notes of legendary track and field coach Bill Bowerman would need to be designed and applied in such a way that as panels were curving and wrapping around the steel substructure, the designs would match-up within the same tight tolerances at the seams. The art had to be designed flat, but looking at the panels wrapped versus flattened were two different perspectives entirely, explains Kahl. “Flattened, a design might look like its two feet apart, but once it’s put together, it may only be one inch apart.”

Photo Finish
A tight timeline with a do-or-die deadline meant a design-build schedule at full sprint. This left no room for errors or delays as there wasn’t time for any revisions in the field. Using AutoCAD Navisworks ensured that every single trade’s drawing flowed into one master file that would immediately alert the team of any interferences. Working hand-in-hand in meetings with 15-30 people once and sometimes twice a week, they immediately resolved any conflicting constructions. “It showed how nimble and flexible the team was, and the attitude of teamwork and the collaboration that we all put towards it was tremendous,” recalls Figueroa.