The recently completed 530,000-sf University of Texas Moody Center is the new home for men’s and women’s basketball at the Austin campus. At full capacity, the arena, located in a former parking lot just south of Mike A. Myers Stadium, the home of Longhorn track and field and soccer teams, will seat 15,000 spectators.
The structure can also host more intimate events when a first-of-its-kind operable upper bowl closure screen converts the venue from 15,000 seats to a 10,000-seat configuration. Inside the building, the advanced roof structure supports amenities designed to make the building flexible for a variety of events: a central retractable video board and a 250,000-lb. show rigging grid including an extensive tension wire rigging platform.
These features are expected to make Austin a major destination for touring shows. The arena bowl precast seating units accommodate an efficient under-seat air distribution system, helping to make the Moody Center one of the most sustainable arenas in the U.S., according to a news release by structural engineer Walter P Moore.
The site presented a significant structural challenge due to slopes up to 50 feet moving from west to east. A deep retention system with heights up to 70 feet was employed, which is “unprecedented for an arena structure,” the release says.
Much of the arena is underground, and a concrete frame forms the primary structure of the building. Daylighting is provided at the upper concourse at the east side and the main concourse at the west side.
Around the perimeter of the building, the long-span steel roof cantilevers up to 75 feet beyond the edge, creating shaded entry spaces. The cantilevered roof floats above an extensive glass curtain wall.
The Moody Center replaces the Frank C. Erwin Center, a 40-year-old arena. That iconic structure was demolished to make way for the expansion of the Dell Medical School.
Owner and/or developer: The University of Texas System Office of Facilities Planning & Construction
Design architect: Gensler
MEP engineer: Henderson Engineers
Structural engineer: Walter P Moore
General contractor/construction manager: AECOM Hunt