Unique Schweiss Glass Bifold Doors Open New Kings Stadium Entrance

Schweiss Doors engineered and built five one-of-a-kind bifold strap latch doors that greet visitors at the entrance of the Sacramento Kings Stadium, Golden 1 Center, in downtown Sacramento, California. The $507 million multi-purpose indoor arena was officially opened Sept. 30, 2016. The 17,500-seat arena will host concerts, conventions and other sporting and entertainment events.

Three of of the Schweiss doors measured 29′ x 41’5″ and the other two were 29’4″ x 41′ 5″. Each door is lifted by three 5 h.p. motors and the liftstraps are 6″ width, compared to the usual 3″ width. The doors, with glass, weigh in at about 28,000 pounds each.

Three motors, housed in the ceiling require 480V, three-phase, 50-amp. electrical power to raise the doors, quickly, quietly and safely. The doors are glazed with low-E safety-laminated glass. Three of the doors face down at a 10-degree angle to make them partly self-shading and to prevent unwanted reflections. The doors can also be controlled by an iPhone app.

The new Sacramento Kings Golden 1 Center seats 17,500 in its modern arena. Schweiss Doors engineered and built five bifold, strap latch main entrance doors made of a combination of steel and aluminum frames. Three of the doors measured 29' x 41.5' and the other two are 29.4' x 41.5' each with respective clear openings of 32' and 28.8'. ©Paul Crosby Architectural Photography

The new Sacramento Kings Golden 1 Center seats 17,500 in its modern arena. Schweiss Doors engineered and built five bifold, strap latch main entrance doors made of a combination of steel and aluminum frames. Three of the doors measured 29′ x 41.5′ and the other two are 29.4′ x 41.5′ each with respective clear openings of 32′ and 28.8′. ©Paul Crosby Architectural Photography

How it all started
Design Principal Architect, Rob Rothblatt, from AECOM Architecture, and a draftsman visited the Schweiss door factory in Minnesota, to get a better handle on how Schweiss designs and builds its doors and went over preliminary door details and the scope of the project with the Schweiss team.

Regarding the bifold doors, Rothblatt said: “We challenged Schweiss to do things they had never done before. One, they are canted on a 15-degree angle- they are not battered. They are not the same length, two of the doors are angled and three doors are straight, meaning they don’t travel the same distance and they don’t stack exactly the same way. We challenged Schweiss to make that work, and they did.”

The Golden 1 Center is the first LEED Platinum arena in the world, leading NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to call it the “Gold Standard” of arenas.


While they’re technically doors, they will also be used as windows, as another set of conventional doors at the base can handle foot traffic in and out of the arena. The first piece of the six-story, glass bifold door was tested over a couple of months time to make sure the door was properly functioning before glass was installed by Bagatelos Architectural Glass Systems of Sacramento. The colossal doors take a little over three minutes to open completely.

Schweiss bifold doors interior

Visitors to the stadium on the second story plaza can look through the bifold glass doors to the city outside. ©Paul Crosby Architectural Photography

Installing the doors was also a challenge
According to Bill Schmidt, CEO of Bill Schmidt Construction of Maxwell, California, installation of these five doors posed a real challenge. The install took nearly three months.

“It was pretty hard. We had to use a chain hoist and a forklift because of the weight limitations on the concrete. The plaza level is on the second story and it’s just decking and concrete. We had six people at one time drilling all the holes. The headers were box headers with center webs in them; we had one inch plate to drill through, three holes per bolt,” said Schmidt. “The side rails were hard to do because the doors weren’t vertical but leaning out 11 degrees. The engineers put thicker side rails on than normal.”

“Just knowing that I did these doors is what I like most about the doors. It was the first of its kind with the top-mounted autolocks on these doors. It was hard because no one had ever done it before. They are fantastic doors that make the stadium top of the line. The doors make the arena – that’s what everybody talks about. It was a one-of-a-kind project that was hard from everybody’s standpoint; engineers, architects, installers – it was really challenging,” added Schmidt.

Schweiss bifold doors installation

Stadium planners wanted something uniquely Sacramento. The huge task involved replacing a failing mall and renewing a failing business district. The stadium is the first LEED Platinum arena in the world.

Schweiss Doors was the premier choice|
“I looked at several door companies and in interviewing you guys (Schweiss), you basically said ‘OK, you want something atypical, it’s a challenge but we think we can do it,’ Everybody else dropped out. Schweiss won the project by being willing to take the risk and doing something architecturally challenging. The other companies couldn’t do a bifold door like Schweiss and they wanted to charge us $60,000 upfront in engineering costs on a door they didn’t even think they could do. We said no to the engineering cost,” said Rathblatt.

“We also needed lights that could shine down on the plaza and the when the doors folded that was also perfect. We lobbed some grenades at Schweiss, and I’m very appreciative, it was a great experience working with Schweiss, and this is going to set the standard for some time to come. These doors are monumental; that doesn’t mean they are large. The Schweiss doors were perfect. I say, let’s make it twice as big next time!”

The Schweiss bifold glass doors highlighting the entrance to the stadium will allow the Delta Breeze to serve as a natural cooling system, pulling air in through small vents found under the seats in the stands. The bifold doors can open to turn the venue into an indoor-outdoor arena and the “smart turnstiles” will allow fans to enter at more than triple the usual speed.

Schweiss bi-fold installed

The SacKings doors are glazed with small fritted glass and low-E safety laminated gray glass non-reflective panels to prevent birds from flying into them.

“What I like most is that when you open the doors and stand on the balcony you don’t know if you are inside the building or outside the building. That is just fantastic,” commented Rothblatt. “Second of all, they are really dynamic, you watch them move, they make it feel like something that is movable and mobile and what we think about as a 20th Century thing. They also have an industrial feel to them, which is perfectly cool for an arena. They look great. They are exactly what I was expecting and when they are closed they fit in really nicely with the quality of the rest of the building,” said Rothblatt.

The Kings have had talks with the NBA about what conditions would need to be met before they could play a game with the open doors, but the team believes it will be able to control the temperature, humidity and wind well enough to make the conditions on the court comparable to a full indoor arena.

The team plans to hold its open practice with the doors open and could do the same for an exhibition game against a non-NBA team. The Kings also could open the doors for college or high school games in order to gather enough data to show the league.

The doors also will provide a unique setting for concerts as thousands of concert-goers will be able to stand outside and hear music from the plaza that will be connected to the 16-story mixed-use Downtown Plaza Tower.


Source: Schweiss Doors
Parts of this story were gathered from a Kings Stadium feature that appeared in Popular Mechanics. It has been further abbreviated here. For the full story go to:

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