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The Retractable Roof Technology Of The Miami Marlins

Thu, 10/20/2016 - 11:16am

Retractable Roof Facts

Three panels elevated over the playing field and ballpark canopy.

  • 560 foot span, track to track - just short of two football fields in length.
  • 338,000 square feet of roof surface areas, or 7.76 acres.
  • 13-minute operation time from fully closed to fully open position.
  • Roof panels can be operated independently to produce micro shading effects.
  • Fifth retractable roof built over a ballpark in the U.S.

An Engineering Marvel

The retractable roof consists of three metal decked operable panels: one upper panel and two lower panels. The East and West panels are at a lower elevation over the stands and the center panel is at the highest elevation with 200 feet clear over second base to allow for "pop-flies". The retractable roof mechanization system is supported by two horizontal concrete track beams approximately 548 feet apart and 750 feet long. When open, the Center Panel retracts to the west main entrance plaza and the East and West panels will retract underneath the Center panel.The challenge is to move a combined 19 million pounds within 13 minutes, traveling at a speed of 39 feet per minute. Each of the three panels can move simultaneously or individually to provide partial shading to the field surface and patrons.

How It Was Built

Although the steel was fabricated off-site, the enormous size of each panel meant the assembly of the steel could only happen at the construction site. An innovative construction shoring removal technique was developed to assemble each truss while increasing the safety of the process. Since the roof is designed for horizontal travel, the trusses were lowered off the shoring systems by merely rolling the roof panels down the supporting ramps as the transporters moved along at the same pace. The concept is similar to launching a ship into the water, except the descent is much slower and controlled throughout the entire process. The shoring system and the associated steel erection procedure for the roof structure were also meticulously designed to resist hurricane level winds.


  • The maximum allowed wind condition to move the roof is 40 miles per hour.
  • The Roof mechanization system is designed to travel approximately 2,000 miles over its life (equivalent to the distance from Miami to Denver and a little more than four round-trips to Havana).
  • The Retractable Roof was designed, manufactured, and assembled in North America.
  • The retractable roof mechanization system contains 96 sets of automatically and manually deployed tie downs to safely secure the retractable roof to the track beam for high wind events including hurricanes. Approximately 70% of these (clamps) are automatically deployed or always active, with the remaining 30% (turn-buckles) to be manually deployed in preparation of a hurricane event only.


Information courtesy of The Miami Marlins