Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities
Only a few hours after five thousand basketball fans had left, the roof of the Hartford Civic Center Coliseum collapsed under a heavy snowfall. Fortunately, the arena was empty. The design of the space frame roof had been based on an innovative and extensive computer analysis. However, when deflections twice as great as those predicted by the computer analysis were observed during construction, the warning was ignored. Overconfidence in computer analysis results played a large part in this failure. A useful lesson from this case is that the computer is only an analytical tool and computed results must be checked by the designer with a careful eye. The long, unbraced lengths of compression members made them highly susceptible to buckling. This case serves as a lesson for engineering students and practicing engineers concerning the difficult technical, professional, procedural, and ethical issues that may arise during the design and construction of a complex, high-occupancy structure.
Martin, R., and Delatte, N. (2001). "Another Look at Hartford Civic Center Coliseum Collapse." J.Perform.Constr.Facil., 15(1), 31-36.