Orchard Park, N.Y. (WBEN/WGR 550) - Although no renderings for a new Buffalo Bills stadium in Orchard Park have been released to this point, there are some details of the new stadium that Western New York is learning about.
WBEN has learned that the new Bills stadium, once constructed, will feature a mesh-like exterior that is aimed to create "wind confusion". What that means is when wind hits the exterior of the building, instead of re-directing and finding other avenues to flow at full speed, the wind will end up dissipating significantly as if hitting a screen.
In models, the effects of this exterior suggests that wind effects inside of the stadium will be minimized.
According to Populous Senior Principal and Project Design Lead, Jonathan Mallie, the material that will make up the mesh-like exterior of the stadium is perforated metal.
"If you have open concourses that are facing the outdoors and you have a fair degree of wind and harsh winter conditions, you'd essentially be bringing the wind right into the stadium and making fans uncomfortable," said Mallie. "So there's a tremendous focus in this kind of climate to protect the fans, basically giving them a break from the harsh conditions outside. With a perforated metal screen in the upper levels of the stadium, we're able to block the wind, slow it down, and not have such a huge penetration into the building."
What Mallie calls the effect is a "dampening of the wind", which will significantly reduce the feeling of that kind of impact.
"It's still an open-air stadium, you still want to experience the elements and all that a city like Buffalo has to offer, and create an intimidating place to play. But you also don't want it to be so cold that people don't want to be in the building," Mallie said. "You're looking at creative ways of creating fan comfort in what would otherwise be a very harsh condition."
While the perforated metal screen that makes up the exterior of the stadium is built to withstand the winds that are often experienced in Orchard Park, Mallie says they're also built to withstand the other elements that make up the climate of Western New York.
"With our design partners and engineers and consultants, we run a series of what's called Computational Fluid Dynamics Models, and those are environmental models that basically take a look at the weather, the climate, and all of the conditions, and then we test in the model various ways of implementing materials on the building and situating them in such a way to protect against rain, snow, and, in this case, wind," he said.
While this design concept for stadiums and other facilities is certainly unique, it is not the first time this material has been used. Mallie says it's the way it's being used that is creative and specific, especially in this case for Buffalo.
"So every situation is different. Wind patterns are different, temperature ranges are different, precipitation is different, and all that factors into the performance of the building. And in this case, the form of the building is following the performance of the materials to combat the conditions."
As Mallie said at the start of this process with designing the new stadium in Buffalo, he's excited to be able to create a concept that is not only fan-friendly with the game experience in mind, but also one that is built specifically for Buffalo.
Hear more of our conversation with Mallie in the player below:
***Photo is a 2019 rendering of a Bills stadium concept in Orchard Park. (Populous)