Colorado’s Most Celebrated Piece of Architecture

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Information about Colorado’s Most Celebrated Piece of Architecture

Phil Puccio

The project

Just west of Denver, nestled among giant red sandstone monoliths in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, sits the state’s most iconic structure at an elevation of 6,450 feet.

In 1928, the City of Denver purchased land in the Red Rock area, formerly advertised as a community park and venue with a simple stage and an existing rough slope for seating. Through the combined efforts of many federal agencies and Denver-area organizations, an amphitheater was built between 1935 and 1941 to provide a more functional concert environment.

The project initially required the removal of 25,000 cubic yards of rock and earth and used 90,000 square feet of flagstone, 10 truckloads of cement, 800 tons of rubble and 30,000 pounds of rebar. Known as the world’s only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater, Red Rocks has attracted some of the world’s most notable artists, from the legendary ‘C/W Outlaws’, Sting and the Beatles to opera stars and U2.

Many improvements have been made to the venue over the years. In 2021, the city wanted to expand and upgrade the venue with a larger roof structure over the main stage. An 8,500 square foot Nordic brown copper standing seam roof was installed to replace the original roof. The high-quality copper of the roof was supplied in coils by the German supplier Aurubis and assembled on site. The venue’s stunning new roof features the complete DualGard™ snow containment system S-5!

The challenge

The new roof is between 75 and 100 feet above the stage floor. Without a snow containment system, snowpack and ice could easily escape, endangering performers, concert-goers and expensive equipment.

Due to the high altitude of the site, the extreme weather conditions throughout the project ranged from freezing rain and snow to warm, dry and sunny to winter-like conditions. Such weather conditions would continue to be an issue for the venue once construction is complete and business operations resume. Therefore, a high-quality, durable snow retention system was required to prevent melting snow and ice from sliding off the pitched metal roof.

The terrain and mountainous surroundings of the venue, with long rows of stairs and curving rocks, presented their own challenges. Staging areas for construction were limited and it was difficult to maneuver equipment and materials. A crane was required to lift roofing materials over a wall and around the mountain.

In addition, the venue is a designated historical site that requires a tested, proven and technical solution that is aesthetically pleasing and meets the architectural requirements and specifications for the project.

The solution

Because the roof is exposed to both the downward and upward forces of snow and wind, a snow retention system that can withstand loads in two directions was required. The DualGard snow guard system from S-5! was specially developed for the standing seam roof profile.

Custom powder coated to match the roof, DualGard is a complete twin tube aluminum snow guard system with strength, testing and quality to nearly every standing seam profile, allowing the team to achieve a perfect color match with the copper roof to the architectural requirements of this historic site.

In addition, the DualGard was easy to transport to such a challenging environment. It is compact and available in packaging lengths and weights that are 100% UPS capable and easy to handle on site.

project team

Architect for roof replacement: Short Elliott Hendrickson

structural engineer: Martin & Martin

electrical engineer: CMO Consulting Engineer, LLC

general contractor: GH Phipps

Roofer: Superior Roofing, Inc.

S-5! Offerer: Schäfer and Co

roof profile: Aurubis Nordic Brown Copper standing seam roof

Industry: Community

project statistics

      • Roof measured: 8500 square feet
      • Roof Pitch: Center, 1/12; pages, ½/12
      • Building height (stage level to rooftop): 51′ (lowest edge), 75’+ (highest edge)
      • Products delivered:

o Dual Gard (200 feet)

o Dual Bracket (150)

o S-5-U mini clamp (300)

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