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A Glass Ship for Vikings Unveiled


By Jill M. Speegle

It’s airy, yet enclosed. Love it or hate it, the recently unveiled, HKS-designed Minnesota Vikings Stadium is sure to turn heads.

The $975 million stadium, which has not yet been named, will feature the world’s largest transparent roof—but not a retractable one, as many people suspected.

(Who would want an open-air roof during football season in Minnesota, anyway?)

New Vikings Stadium Rendering
Minnesota Vikings / HKS

The Vikings' new home should be ready for the 2016 season.

Officials also say the project will feature the largest glass pivoting doors in the world.

The architecture firm’s renderings for the downtown Minneapolis facility were released Monday (May 13) night, and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority voted to adopt the proposed plan. The design package will now be submitted to the Minneapolis Stadium Implementation Committee and the City of Minneapolis for review.

A fly-through video and more photos are posted here.

‘Bold, Iconic Design’

“[The] unveiling showcases a bold, iconic design delivered by HKS,” Vikings president Mark Wilf said in a statement release by the team. “Not only is this facility unique to Minnesota, but the stadium will also provide Vikings fans with the best game-day experience in the NFL, which has always been our goal.”

Vikings Coach Leslie Frasier called the design “fantastic,” reports said.

HKS is well-known in the arena-design world; its portfolio includes the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and the Indianapolis Colts Lucas Oil Stadium.

Construction will begin in October, with completion set for the Vikings 2016 season. The giant structure will hold 65,000 fans.

HKS Design for Vikings Stadium
Minnesota Vikings / HKS

The non-retractable roof will feature ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene). It will be the largest clear ETFE roof in the world, officials say.

"The design reflects the true story of the Minnesota community, with its international style driven by climatic response and energy conservation,” according to Bryan Trubey, design principal, HKS Sports & Entertainment Group.

"The interior volume makes it the most versatile, multi-use building in the country with the most advanced digital-age technology.”

The stadium will be built by Mortenson Construction and is expected to create some 7,500 construction-related jobs.

Mixed Views

Since the big reveal, as one might expect, the Internet has been abuzz about the new plan. Popular topics include the design, price tag and functionality. Opinions are mixed, to be sure.

One commenter on a Minnesota Post story opined, “It looks like a cheap glass copy of a Viking ship crashed through the Prudential ‘rock’ and the engineers decided to shore up what’s left with an overgrown Erector set.”

Some are concerned with the venue size, since NFL game attendance has been hit hard in the last few years and people would rather watch the games on TVs, computers or tablets.

Others took issue with the urban design implications, questioning how the giant blank walls will interact with the downtown streets nearby.

However, many admire the proposed stadium, calling the sleek, modern design “amazing” and commending HKS’s attention to natural lighting.

In any case, I’d say it’s an improvement from the Metrodome—and hey, the roof is pitched, so snow won’t cause it to collapse, right?


Jill M. Speegle

Jill Speegle is the Editor of Durability + Design News. She earned her B.A. in journalism and English as well as her J.D. from the University of Arkansas. In Sketches, Jill shares her thoughts on a number of topics that may be of interest to the D+D community, including architecture, interior design, green building, historic restoration, and whatever else catches her radar.



Tagged categories: Architecture; Color; Design; Green building; Interior design; Restoration; Aesthetics; Architects; Building design; Color + Design; Commercial Construction; Construction; Glass; Stadiums/Sports Facilities

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