The roof: how does it work?

 - Myrtille Rambion

The last piece has finally been fitted and Philippe-Chatrier court’s roof is ready for use. Here’s everything you need to know.

Inside view from the Philippe-Chatrier court's roof under consruction.©Christophe Guibbaud/FFT

The final part of the roof has been fitted: a tangible yet highly symbolic event.

Eight months after the final match point was played at the 2019 Roland-Garros tournament, the eleventh and final truss of the retractable roof has been installed on Philippe-Chatrier court. The huge project to transform the legendary court was thus completed on 5th February 2020, a month ahead of schedule.

Now it is time to put the roof into service and carry out various tests, which will run until the end of April.

But what do we need to know about the roof? How does it work? Let’s take a look.

The last truss of the Philippe-Cahtrier Court's roof being installed©Christophe Guibbaud/FFT

What are its various components?

Philippe-Chatrier court’s retractable roof is made up of 11 trusses, each weighing 330 metric tons. Each truss is split into 7 sections measuring 15m long and 3m high.   

Once they are assembled into two units, these sections make up a truss that spans 105 metres and is mounted with canvas.

Trusses of the Philippe-Chatrier court's roof.©Christophe Guibbaud/FFT

How long did the work take?

It took two years to manufacture the trusses in workshops located near Venice. Just after Roland-Garros 2019 finished, it took a month to set up an assembly plant in the stadium and erect the cranes.

It then took eight months to assemble the 11 trusses, install the acoustic panels, lift the trusses into place and fit the canvases.

Covered Seats under the Philippe-Chatrier court's roof.©Christophe Guibbaud/FFT

How does the roof work?

Each truss is fitted with two cogged wheels, located on either side of the truss. These wheels pull the trusses along two cogged rails fixed to the top of the stands. They are driven by synchronised electric motors.

The movement of each truss is synchronised with each of its neighbouring trusses and is driven by a computer system that controls when the roof should open or close.

Cogged wheels on a truss of the Philippe-Cahtrier court's roof.©Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

How long does it take to close the roof?

Philippe-Chatrier court’s retractable roof can be closed in around fifteen minutes. In total, the roof covers a surface area of 1 hectare (10,000m2).

Roof under construction on the Court Philippe-Chatrier©Christophe Guibbaud/FFT