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Putting the finishing touches on the Olympic stadium

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After Dow, Cooley and Rainier had developed, manufactured, fabricated and printed the fabric product, FabriTec Structures, Costa Mesa, Calif., (a brand of USA Shade and Fabric Structures Inc./Shade Worldwide) was called in for the final design detailing and engineering of the panels around the stadium itself.

The company and its 52-member crew executed a level of precision and teamwork that would make any Olympic coach proud as the installation transformed the panels into visually stunning fabric architecture. The look of the stadium was transformed as it was dressed in splashes of color from the panels that encircled the structure. The panels also provided directional assistance for attendees—every sixth banner displayed the sections and aisles.

Here again, expertise and teamwork played critical roles. “We’ve collaborated with Rainier on several other projects,” says Bill Schmidt, vice president of project management for Dallas, Texas-based FabriTec Structures. “We have quite a bit of experience working overseas, so we came in as part of the final step and also supplied the steel components necessary to attach the 306 banners to the existing stadium.”

In terms of challenges, Schmidt affirmed that one of the major ones was the compressed installation schedule. “We also spent significant time working closely with LOCOG to coordinate our attachments to the existing structure,” he says. “There was a very short timeframe for all of that. There were also many revisions to the design, which caused us to at times switch gears on the fly.”

It all came down to being able to adapt as needed, Schmidt says. “We took our original schedule and basically cut it in half. We managed to get as many crews as possible, and we worked long hours seven days a week. Fortunately, one of our supervisors who had previously worked in the United States is now living in London and was able to source some very good labor.”

All in all, this project had a very distinct feeling to it, Schmidt says. “With this one, it wasn’t an isolated project, the excitement was all around us because we knew what it was leading up to. The collaboration piece was very impressive, from Dow to Cooley to Rainier to us. It was a great team to be part of.”

Amy Orchard is a freelance writer and editor based in St. Paul, Minn.

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