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Sky Mirror Fountain, AT&T Stadium, Dallas

Sky Mirror by Sir Anish Kapoor
Reflecting Pools and Water Wall by Roman Fountains,
Installed by Water Structures





Sir Anish Kapoor's 35-foot diameter, 23-ton, "Sky Mirror" sits on a granite "plinth," which is supported by reinforced structural concrete piers. The top of the plinth is a reflecting pool and fountain. The mirror is polished 316-grade stainless steel (316 has outstanding welding characteristics). The concave mirror side faces east, positioned and angled to reflect the color and cloud patterns of the Texas sky, while reflecting stadium crowds on the other side.


AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, completed in May 2009, is the 3.1 million sq. ft., 100,000-seat home of the Dallas Cowboys. The stadium architect is HKS, founded in 1939, with 27 worldwide offices and projects located in 1,498 cities and 84 countries. The monumental stadium has two steel arches spanning its 1,290-foot length, and a canted 800-foot glass wall. The retractable roof and end zone walls can transform the indoor stadium to an outdoor venue. It purports to have the world's largest column-free interior. In short, Cowboys' owner and GM Jerry Jones' $1.15 billion home away from home is spectacular.

 




The polished black granite veneer stone and black 'Luna' quartz interior finish of the 286-ft. perimeter, 61,216-gallon pool help accentuate the water's mirror effect. Water flows from the plinth fountain and is also pumped into the reflecting pool to create a flow over all four sides. A narrow grated catch basin skirts the pool base to transport the cascade to a 7,031-gallon direct burial vault for recycling.



Texas likes big. The sheer size of the venue prompted an analyst to determine its energy output. On game days AT&T Stadium uses more energy than the western equatorial country of Liberia (pop. 4 million). When you're willing to spend that kind of money (well, Arlington taxpayers did help by approving a 0.5 percent increase of the city's sales tax, a hotel occupancy tax hike of 2 percent, and car rental tax of 5 percent), you can't leave the outside grounds looking like any ol' stadia. You gotta have something special. While you might expect some Wild West cowboy-themed statuary, Eugenia (Gene) Jones, the owner's wife has a passion for collecting art pieces for the stadium grounds. When she saw a photo of Anish Kapoor's "Sky Mirror," she decided to purchase it as a birthday gift for her husband.

 




The fountain at the top of the plinth moves a 3/8-inch thick wall of water over the rounded granite weirs, falling 4-feet into the large reflecting pool.



The Sky Mirror Artists
Sir Anish Kapoor, 60, knighted for service to the visual arts, was born in Bombay (Mumbai), India, but has lived in London since the early 1970s. In the U.S. he is best known for "Cloud Gate" (2006) at Millennium Park in Chicago, aka the "Bean," a 125-ton stainless steel, kidney-shaped piece of 168 polished stainless steel plates welded together for a seamless mirror-like surface, distorting the reflection of people in interesting ways.

Sky Mirror was created in 2005, but then did some traveling: It was temporarily installed in London, New York City and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney before settling into its permanent home at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Gene Jones has now collected 56 art pieces for the stadium, including 16 site-specific commissions by 40 established and emerging artists.

 




The lower reflecting pool was not part of the Sky Mirror project. It is the work of Greenscape Pump of Carrollton, Texas. Oak trees border the pool.



Just Add Water
The decision was made to incorporate fountains around Sky Mirror. Bryan Weber of Water Structures came to Roman Fountains with the project based on their relationship and success on previous projects. Because of this strong relationship, Roman began the MEP design work on June 28, 1013, even before being formally engaged.

The project had to be designed, approved, built, delivered, installed and fully functional and operational by Sunday October 13, 2013, the evening the Cowboys played the Redskins.

 




The west side of the three-story Sky Mirror, seemingly ready to tip over, faces the stadium, allowing fans to view themselves (from afar) in its dazzling stainless steel reflection.



"It was a 'super fast track' project with no room for error or delay," explains Jon Mitovich, past president and senior advisor for Roman Fountains Corp. "That meant we had to have our system completed, shipped and on the jobsite weeks before the deadline for installation and commissioning. Add to this timetable that the sculpture piece had to be 'hidden' in plain sight during construction, and installation to kept it a secret from Jerry Jones until game day."

Mitovich estimates a project of this size and complexity, from design/shop drawing approval, would typically take a fountain company at least 10-12 weeks to deliver. Roman made it happen "double time," he reports. "This project could not take the traditional path of 'negotiation, contract, design submittal, shop drawing approval, production, system delivery, installation, start-up and commissioning,"' he explains.

 




The mechanical, electrical and plumbing system was designed around Roman Fountains RDP Series 5 direct-burial equipment vault. The fiberglass reinforced plastic vault super-structure measures 15' long x 8' wide x 9' overall height, and weighs 6-tons fully outfitted.



Price and terms were agreed to July 16; a formal contract issued July 17; MEP design/shop drawings completed and delivered July 18; MEP design approved and released for production Aug. 1; equipment fabricated, tested and shipped Sept. 3; and off-loading at the stadium on September 5. Installation and commissioning followed over the next few weeks. The reflecting pools and water wall were installed by Water Structures of North Richland Hills, Texas.

In short, the fountain was up and running for the October 13, 2013 presentation and dedication, and a highlight on the evening news. To make the scenario perfect, the Cowboys defeated the Redskins 31-16.




The combined pump and filter flow volume for the fountain and pools is 3,000 gpm, powered by two 1,400 gpm flooded suction pumps on variable speed drives. The water is pumped back to the pools with minimal turbulence to optimize the reflectivity of the water.



The Mechanics

The mechanical, electrical and plumbing system was designed around Roman Fountains RDP Series 5 direct-burial equipment vault. The FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic) vault super-structure measures 15' long x 8' wide x 9' overall height, and weighs 6-tons fully outfitted. The combined pump and filter flow volume is 3,000 gpm, powered by (2) 1,400 gpm flooded suction pumps on variable speed drives (VFD), allowing the operator to adjust the output of the pumps. The VFDs are also tied to the wind compensation system to ramp down the flow output or stop the fountain during heavy winds. Water treatment/filtration is via (2) 30.5-inch permanent media sand filters with multiport valve control. Each tank is driven by a 2 hp/100 gpm filter pump. Two grade copper-silver ionizer units sustain water quality and clarity. A 6 KVA step down transformer and UL 508 listed fountain control panel is incorporated into the vault for system electronic control.

After the Sky Mirror Fountain dedication, an upgrade to the electrical controls was designed and furnished for remote control and monitoring of the fountain through the stadium's building management system.

Project Team
Owner: Dallas Cowboys
Artist: Sir Anish Kapoor
Architect: HKS, Dallas
General Contractor: Manhattan Construction Company, Dallas
Fountain Contractor: Weber Enterprises, DBA Water+Structures, North Richland Hills, Texas
Fountain MEP Designer & Equipment Supplier: Roman Fountains, Albuquerque
Fountain Plumbing Contractor: Dyna Ten Corporation, Dallas
Fountain Electrical Contractor: Aqua Tech Electric, Dallas
Concrete Contractor: Metric Concrete Services, Inc, Wylie, Texas
Masonry Contractor: Dee Brown, Inc., Garland, Texas







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