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John Pierce ’81 Describes Role of 3-D Modeling and New Yankee Stadium

John Pierce ’81 was the only 2011 Reunion College speaker who wore a New York Yankees hat. The cap was a prop during his Skillman Library presentation on how his employer, Turner Construction Company, used 3-D modeling to manage the building of the new Yankee Stadium, the $2.3 billion successor to the old Yankee Stadium, one of the world’s most famous sports facilities.

Pierce didn’t actually work on the New York Yankees’ latest home, which opened in 2009 next door to the team’s original Bronx home in use from 1923 to 2008. But the Turner vice president knows all about Building Information Modeling (BIM), a system of virtual prototypes that has revolutionized preparations for the construction of radical structures. Turner, for example, used BIM to monitor the erection of a 50-story bank tower in Mexico City, a project supervised by Pierce in his role as the company’s Latin America manager.

According to Pierce, Turner draftsmen tested the preconstruction of the new Yankee Stadium in a design laboratory/command center. The specialists consulted remarkably detailed color-coded pictures of every element: pipes to bolts, lighting fixtures to elevators, a replica of the old Yankee Stadium’s field dimensions to a facsimile of the former ballpark’s fabled façade frieze. Blue bands, for example, signified the electronic signs that ring the new Yankee Stadium, part of a $200 million audio-visual system. The bands were used to ensure that every spectator could see every animation clearly, from player statistics to the words of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

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