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Raising the roof

Stadia meets the project managers for the groundbreaking ETFE roof being installed at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, the new home of the Minnesota Vikings

 

The new home for the Minnesota Vikings, the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, will be the first sports venue in the country to use ETFE for the stadium roof.

Approximately 60% of the venue – 248,000ft² – will be covered by the transparent copolymer plastic, making the stadium suitable for use all-year round.

Stadia spoke to senior vice president Kevin Taylor (below) and sports principal-in-charge John Hutchings (left) from HKS Sports & Entertainment Group about the latest developments in construction, and what they expect the roof to add to the venue.


Can you give us an update on the ETFE roof at the new stadium? 
The second installation will take place in August 2015, the third in September, and the fourth in October, with a November 2015 completion.

Why was this material chosen for the roof?
Sixty percent of the colossal venue, about 248,000ft2 of it, will be covered solely by this transparent material, ETFE. The space-age product, scientifically categorized as a copolymer plastic, lets in light like glass would. It’s just lighter, cheaper and self-cleaning.

 

 

Did you put the design out to tender?
We selected one design option that was the best option for the project. Following that, we put the design out to tender.

What were some of the major design concerns? Were weather handling, natural light and noise retention important to consider?
All of the above [were major concerns]. The ETFE material will stand up to the harsh winter climate conditions and provide natural daylighting. Given the cold climate environment, the use of a retractable roof is limited. In fact, the team would be lucky if they were able to open the retractable roof for two preseason games. 

What kind of atmosphere will spectators enjoy under the new roof?
It will enhance the connection to nature and the city. Its transparency will also allow spectators to have an experience that is more in line with an outdoor stadium without the rain or snow.

As the first technology’s first implementation in a US sports venue, do you feel the industry is watching the Vikings project with particular interest?
There are a handful of ETFE buildings around the country, like a train station in Anaheim, California, an amphitheater in Kansas City, Missouri, and a waterpark in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, but this will be the biggest.

Do you think other venues will be rolling out such projects in the future?
We think the success of this project will help pave the way for other stadium venues wrestling with the open-air stadium option. It will serve as a design benchmark.

August 20, 2015

 

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