Rio de Janeiro: Building Information Modeling for Reusable Sports Facilities

We have often heard that structures built for major sports events get later abandoned, which is far from a sustainable building lifecycle. Hosting the world's biggest sporting event with ten thousand athletes from 200 countries, Rio de Janeiro is seeing construction of many sports facilities. Trimble’s Tekla solutions allowed Brafer to build with great accuracy two arenas that will be first used for sports and later as schools and leisure facilities for Rio inhabitants.  

When it comes to Rio’s sports infrastructure, sustainability is taken seriously. Many events take place in existing facilities –the city already has major venues such as the Maracanã stadium and Sambódromo where samba schools meet during the carnival– which can just be adapted for the purpose. What is more interesting, some venues like the Future Arena are designed for reuse, using Building Information Modeling (BIM).

In case of major sports events, the structures tend to be complex, and possible flaws or delays are broadcasted to billions of sports enthusiasts around the world. Under this pressure, Brafer Contruções Metálicas S/A built two major arenas, the Future Arena and the Youth Arena, which will become legacies to the city after the competition. To complete the challenging projects and meet the strict deadlines, the steel specialist used Trimble’s Tekla Structures, the BIM software, for successful design, detailing and fabrication.

Gustavo Polidoro, Brafer´s Structures Engineering Manager, said that the use of Trimble’s Tekla solutions helped a lot in the projects that required extreme accuracy. "They are very complex structures. On the Future Arena, for example, the trusses are very heavy. The Youth Arena in Deodoro has many tubular structures. Tekla software has specific tools for modeling cutting and weld preparations of these tubes. Using the right solution, all these structures demanded zero rework. That’s precision only the Trimble tools give," he says. Using the accurate Tekla model information for fabrication allows more efficient workflows, avoiding human errors and brings higher level of accuracy.

Building Information Modeling with Tekla tools was natural when Brafer started working on the arenas. When they seeked for ways to increase productivity, Brafer executives found in Trimble’s Tekla solutions what they needed. Since then, Brafer relies on the software in all their projects. Tekla Structures has allowed modeling steel structures in a very fast way, smoother fabrication process and reduced time and costs. They also use Trimble's construction collaboration tools for sharing information in the workflow.

Recycling buildings: One arena transforms into four schools

The Future Arena has been proudly labeled as 'nomadic architecture' and is considered one of the boldest venues built for the competitions, with an area of ​​1.18 million square meters. The temporary facility will first be the venue for handball and goalball, and later be disassembled and transformed into four schools. Each school unit will offer room for 500 students and these will be located in three Rio neighborhoods.  

In the Future Arena project, Brafer was responsible for detailing, fabrication, painting and assembly of the roof and the stands for the different sports. Because the Paralympic goalball played by visually impaired athletes will take place in the Future Arena, acoustics had to be given special consideration. Involving Brafer’s factories in Araucaria and Rio de Janeiro, the project had a volume of approximately steel 2,700 tons, divided into 1,400 tons for the roof, 1,100 tons for the stands and another 200 tons for stairs and access ramps. The project schedule was of the fast-track type, with fabrication and assembly processes overlapping in order to optimize the processes and meet the deadline. The arena’s longest free span is 112 meters, and to erect the 90-meter long, 75-ton trusses, Brafer needed two cranes.

In this project, free model information flow and using Tekla BIMsight, the professional tool for construction collaboration, were essential. Everyone involved in the workflow, in Rio and in Araucaria, could combine their models, check conflicts and share information in the same, easy to use BIM environment. With Tekla BIMsight, the project participants were able to identify and resolve problems during the design phase, well before actual construction.

The Youth Arena: Competitive sports first, then leisure

Brafer was hired to detail, fabricate and assemble approximately 2,500 tons of steel for the Youth Arena in the Deodoro Complex, the venue for basketball and fencing. Assembly and erection phases had their peculiarities. The tubular latticed trusses for the stands roof, 70 meters long and weighing about 40 tons each, were manufactured in parts, pre-assembled and welded on site, and then lifted with two cranes of 120 tons.

The Deodoro area had about 60% of the facilities ready after hosting other sports events, such as Pan American Games in 2007. After the 2016 event, certain facilities including the slalom canoeing circuit and BMX track will be part of the Extreme Park, the second largest park in the city.

The built legacy of this sports event will keep serving the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro – be it for education or for more exciting leisure.

Arena Do Futuro

Juventude Arena

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