Every August for the US Open, Arthur Ashe Stadium hosts elite tennis athletes, crowds of fans, and sponsors for a two-week period. At 23,771 seats, Arthur Ashe Stadium is the primary tennis stadium on the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center campus, and is the largest tennis stadium in the world. Arthur Ashe Stadium was originally designed by ROSSETTI in 1997 but was not designed to have a roof. Rain hindered play during the US Open for five consecutive years, causing the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to search for a solution.
The USTA considered proposals from multiple architectural firms to design a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium; however, they did not meet their four critical objectives: structural integrity, financial viability, operational functionality, and aesthetically pleasing. After an intensive R+D effort in collaboration with WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, ROSSETTI's innovative design concept was selected.
To combat the poor soil conditions, ROSSETTI and WSP's solution was to create a structure totally independent of the existing stadium, essentially building an umbrella over the structure to shield the court and spectators. ROSSETTI’s design intent is respectful to the iconic stadium, aesthetically taking its cues from the existing architecture. The roof structure gives the appearance of being an integral part of the stadium, designed to look integrated with the original stadium. In reality, the roof is wholly independent of the structure beneath, making it visually and physically as light as possible.
In addition to the new roof, the upgraded stadium features new seating for 23,771 fans, state-of-the-art broadcast and audio systems, 90 luxury suites, five restaurants (including media and player dining), and a two-level players’ lounge. With the completion of the retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium and the other enhancements on campus, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is expected to draw an extra 10,000 people per day during the US Open, increasing attendance to 1.2 million visitors, boosting the economic impact numbers well above the current $756 million, and increasing the global TV viewing audience.
Rain is no longer an issue for the US Open, allowing for a more enjoyable experience for athletes, fans, and sponsors.