TT Stadium – Istanbul

TT Stadium – Istanbul

When one of the most well known names in international football opens a new stadium you can expect a fanfare that resounds around the world. Galatasaray’s magnificent new Turk Telekom (TT) Stadium was no exception. The opening ceremony was attended by all the teams’ faithful season ticket holders, stars from the world of international football, and VIPs including members of the Turkish Government. The ceremony even broke a few records in the presentation field, not least by suspending a structurally awkward and massive load off easily the longest truss structure ever stretched across a stadiums’ open maw.

“Well maybe not the longest truss ever, I think Lord Norman Foster might have something to say about that, but certainly the longest truss from standard production industry equipment.” Chris Cronin, the head of Total Solutions Group (TSG) who supplied the truss, is known for his precision on these matters.

“We have a well established relationship with Staras, Turkey’s leading sound and lighting company,” explained Cronin.  “And we’ve worked on many a project together since they purchased their first sticks of truss twenty years ago. Even so when they called me and described their intention to span seventy-seven metres – basically across the football field – and hang a very large three dimensional video screen from it, I let out an audible gasp. It was an ambitious project from an engineering perspective, but what took my breath away was the fact that it was scheduled for just ten days time.”

The stadium opening ceremony for which this structure would be installed was scheduled for 16th January 2011; in ten short days Cronin formulated a composite truss solution, “effectively you create a giant truss structure using existing trusses to form the chords of a super truss.” Assisted by Malcolm Richards, TSG’s long serving independent structural engineer, the two men assessed the contents of the Staras truss inventory and then crunched the numbers. “Staras own a substantial stock of our Serious HD truss, this formed the four horizontal chords, while 18” Tower truss would make the verticals. Diagonal bracing would be made using 22mm diameter wire rope.”

The resultant structure exhibited precisely all the typical tension and compression characteristics that makes trussing the utilitarian suspension solution with which we’re all so familiar.  “It also made for a visually lighter structure”, added Cronin, “A seventy-seven metre run of our Serious HD truss looks remarkably small at this length, something that pleased the TV people no end.”

Fevzi Coşkun headed up the project for Staras, “The TSG designed structure proved very easy to construct”, he said, “we had just twelve hours on the new turf before the cover sheets had to be lifted in anticipation of the opening match. It proved remarkably stable under load; the hexagonal projection surface hung from it was effectively a huge sail so I was expecting much more lateral deflection.”  Coşkun also oversaw a sizable installation of sound and lights, with speakers and lights all around the football pitch perimeter. “I have to say I was most impressed by Fevzi and his technical team”, said Cronin. “I see things like this all the time and from my perspective this was no different from a big stadium show at Wembley, and very professionally executed.”

The opening ceremony match against Ajax is already a distant memory and the major elements of that huge truss structure are now redeployed by Staras on projects all over Turkey. “It was a great day for us,” said Ayhan Özel head of Staras, “I expect Staras and TSG to be working on many more such successful projects in the future.”