Vikings' Stadium Design Features Glass-Like Roof, Large Pivoting Glass Doors
HKS Sports & Entertainment yesterday unveiled design plans for the Vikings' new stadium, featuring "giant pivoting glass doors that open to the downtown Minneapolis skyline and a roof that, while not retractable, will let in so much sunlight come game days, fans will feel as though they’re sitting outdoors,” according to a front-page piece by Meryhew & Moore of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. Seven stadium decks will “surround a field of artificial turf and two giant high-tech scoreboards at each end zone will replay the big plays and flash the game stats.” The stadium, at 1.6 million square-feet, will be “nearly twice the size of the outdated" Metrodome. The new venue will seat 65,000 fans for NFL games, "but accommodate up to 73,000 for special events, such as a Super Bowl.” The stadium will be "asymmetrical and almost diamond-like in shape, featuring sharp angles and a roof line that rises to a peak on the downtown end, which doubles as the building’s grand entryway.” The building facade “will be made of metal panels and a glazed glass curtain wall and have four entrances.” Five 95-foot-tall pivoting glass doors at the concourse level “will allow fans to enter and exit a plaza -- more than 2 acres in size -- just outside the stadium.” A retractable roof was “conspicuous by its absence,” but about half the roof “will have a hard covering or deck, with the remainder made up of ETFE, a transparent glass-like polymer that was used to cover the outside of the Beijing National Aquatics Center.” HKS Principal Bryan Trubey said, “We think clear is the new retractable.” Minnesota Sports Facility Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said that the idea of a retractable roof “ultimately was dropped because it was too costly and couldn't fit within the construction budget without sacrificing other features the team and authority wanted” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/14).
RAZE THE ROOF: In St. Paul, Ben Goessling notes Trubey “would not discuss whether HKS and Mortensen Construction, the contractor on the stadium, could have added a retractable roof and stayed under" the $975M budget. But Trubey said that in Minnesota's climate, the "perception of being outdoors made more sense than the reality of it, anyway.” Trubey: "It really wasn't the right move for the building. What we've essentially got is a completely clear, open side of the roof, without the struggles of, 'Well, if you open the retractable roof, whatever temperature you have in the building just changes within 10 or 15 minutes to whatever the outdoor temperature is.' As we walked through all the different pieces of the building, this is really what everybody arrived at as the best solution, period." Goessling writes a retractable roof “was, at best, superfluous as HKS and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority considered most of those goals.” With a budget “that's considered modest as far as new stadiums go, the parties involved in designing the stadium felt like their solution made more sense for Minnesota's weather and its pocketbook than a retractable roof did” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/14). ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert wrote, "I'll be interested to know how crowd noise reverberates off an ETFE roof, and how loud the stadium will be when the doors are closed versus open” (ESPN.com, 5/13). Kelm-Helgen called the design a "really interesting, beautiful piece of architecture" that will be "iconic." She said, "This facility is going to put us in a position of being able to compete for just unbelievable numbers of national, international events" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/14).
RAVE REVIEWS: In Minneapolis, Chip Scoggins writes the new stadium is “bright and open and includes many features that will improve Vikings gameday exponentially.” Sightlines are “better, and wider concourses won’t turn fans into human bumper cars anymore.” Two HD video boards will “enhance the experience," and women will be "able to use the restroom without missing an entire quarter.” Scoggins: “Truthfully, I came to the event expecting to be disappointed that the stadium does not include a retractable roof.” But the Vikings “found a suitable compromise that will bring an outdoor feel and atmosphere to the stadium.” The stadium also should bring the Minneapolis-St. Paul market “into the discussion as potential hosts of a Super Bowl, Final Four and other major events” (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 5/14). In St. Paul, Bob Sansevere writes the design is “like some futuristic spaceship you would envision warp speeding around a distant quadrant of the universe.” There is a “lot of glass and sharp edges and it will remind absolutely no one of its predecessors” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/14). The PIONEER PRESS enlisted local architectural experts to weigh in on the designs. Bentz/Thompson/Rietow President & Principal Owner Ann Voda writes the stadium's interiors "look clean, spacious and contemporary.” Koski Architecture Founder Phillip Koski writes the new design is “bold, angular and sculptural -- totally appropriate for a building of this scale and cultural importance” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 5/14).