Arena Doors Fit For The Kings

One-of-a-kind bifold doors open the Golden 1 Center to the world.

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The Sacramento Kings Golden 1 Center has five bifold, strap-latch main entrance doors made of a combination of steel and aluminum frames, engineered and built by Schweiss Doors.

The $507-million Golden 1 Center is a multi-purpose indoor arena in downtown Sacramento, CA, and home to the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. The 17,500-seat arena will host concerts, conventions, and other sporting and entertainment events. It features luxury suites and a capacity of 19,000.

Schweiss Doors, Hector, MN, engineered and built five one-of-a-kind bifold strap-latch doors for the arena entrance. Three doors measure 29-ft. wide by 41-ft. 5-in. high, while the other two doors are 4-in. wider. Each door is lifted by three 5-HP motors with liftstraps 6-in. wide, double the normal width. The doors, constructed of glass, each weigh approximately 28,000 lb. Three motors housed in the ceiling require 480-V, 3-phase, 50-A electrical power to raise the doors quickly, quietly, and safely. The doors are glazed with a low-e safety-laminated glass. Three doors face down at an 11-deg. angle to make them partly self-shading and to prevent unwanted reflections. The doors also can be controlled by an iPhone app.

Visitors on the second-story plaza can look through the bifold glass doors to the city. Doors are glazed with small fritted glass and low-e safety laminated gray glass non-reflective panels to prevent birds from flying into them.

Visitors on the second-story plaza can look through the bifold glass doors to the city. Doors are glazed with small fritted glass and low-e safety laminated gray glass non-reflective panels to prevent birds from flying into them.

How it began

Design principal architect Rob Rothblatt of AECOM Architecture in Los Angeles visited the Schweiss Doors factory, accompanied by a draftsman, to get a better handle on how the company designed and built its doors. The meeting included a preliminary exploration of the door details and the scope of the project. Sold on Schweiss, Rothblatt returned to California and worked with a team of architects to design what was required of the doors.

“We challenged Schweiss to do things they had never done before,” Rothblatt said. “One, they are canted on an 11-degree angle. 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.”

The company provided some budgetary figures and the project was a go. “We worked on the Kings stadium-door project for eight months,” Mike Schweiss, company owner said.

AECOM’s client wanted something uniquely Sacramento. The city was replacing a failing mall and needed to renew a failing district for rejuvenation of the area. It involved working with the wonderful temperature, being able to have indoor-outdoor expression, and the project needed to meet the stringent California Title 24 Energy standards.

“We are the first LEED Platinum arena in the world,” Rothblatt claimed. “NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that Golden 1 Center is the ‘gold standard’ of arenas, and the doors are a part of that. The (Minnesota) Vikings have 90-ft.-high swivel doors, but they are a very different thing. Being uniquely Sacramento is to be kind to the flora and fauna and celebrate farm-to-table and the delta. We are state of the art in bird protection; it’s partly because of the doors. We don’t have any reflective glass. We have fritted glass and small panels that allow birds to see ahead of them. The doors are glazed with gray glass, so birds will never bang into them by mistake. We’ve had no crashes at all.”

The doors are also windows, with another set of conventional pedestrian doors at the base to handle foot traffic entering and exiting the arena. The first piece of the six-story bifold door was tested over a couple months’ time to make sure it was functioning properly before the glass was installed by Bagatelos Architectural Glass Systems of Sacramento.

Each of the bifold canopy hangar-style doors with glass cladding weighs about 28,000 lb. and is lifted by three 5-HP motors.

Each of the bifold canopy hangar-style doors with glass cladding weighs about 28,000 lb. and is lifted by three 5-HP motors.

Installation challenges

Bill Schmidt Construction of Maxwell, CA, had a lot of experience with the installation of Schweiss Doors products and was charged with the three-month installation of the five doors at the Golden 1 Center.

“We had to use a chain hoist and a forklift because of the weight limitations on the concrete,” said Bill Schmidt, CEO. “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 a one-inch plate to drill through, three holes per bolt. 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.”

There was a strong emphasis on working safely, resulting in plenty of paperwork. “Just knowing that I did these doors is what I like most about the doors,” Schmidt said. “It was the first of its kind with the top-mounted autolocks on these doors. The doors make the arena, that’s what everybody talks about.”

Rothblatt said the huge, mobile door panels are central to the architectural design, merging indoor and outdoor life while ventilating the arena. The bifold doors at the entrance 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 doors can open to turn the venue into an indoor-outdoor arena and the “smart turnstiles” allow fans to enter at more than triple the usual speed.

“What I like most is that when you open the doors and stand on the balcony, you don’t know if you are inside or outside the building,” Rothblatt continued. “That is just fantastic. Second, 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 21st century thing. They also have an industrial feel to them, which is perfectly cool for an arena. 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.”


datacache— Watch a video detailing the stadium

— Download a brochure about bifold doors

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