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Stars of 2016 - Part III

As our ongoing series of web exclusive articles continues, David W Smith looks at two more exciting new venues set for completion in 2016.

 

US Bank Stadium, USA
US Bank Stadium is a fixed-roof stadium being constructed in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, to be the new home of NFL team Minnesota Vikings. When it opens in July 2016, it will have a capacity of 65,000 – expandable to 73,000 for Super Bowl games. The overall budget is US$1.061bn, making it one of the world’s most expensive stadium projects.

Architects HKS were selected for the project as a result of their global experience in roof design – the company designed two of the most recent NFL stadiums, the AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium) in Arlington, Texas and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. The new Vikings stadium is a fixed-roof venue with the largest translucent roof in North America. It incorporates ETFE, a plastic-like material that was used for roofs at the Cube aquatics center at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the Allianz Arena soccer stadium in Munich, Germany. The translucent roof and windows allow natural light to enter the stadium, as well as giving fans a view of downtown Minneapolis. It will be the first fixed-roof stadium in the NFL since Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions in Michigan, opened in 2002.

The roof will protect crowds and teams from the harsher elements of the Minnesota winters, but heat build-up can still be an issue when the sun shines brightly. HSK, and partners the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, are using thermal fretting, layered over the ETFE, to reflect the sun’s rays away from the roof. The fretting improves both heat retention and heat prevention. The roof’s sloping design will also prevent the build-up of snow. The Vikings’ old home, the Metrodome, suffered several collapses during heavy snow falls.

Mosaic Stadium, Canada
The new Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, will reach substantial completion in August 2016, and host its first Saskatchewan Roughriders game in June 2017. It is being built by PCL Construction Management, which includes HKS Sports and Entertainment, B+H Architects and TD Securities. The stadium will be located a few blocks west of the club’s old stadium and will seat 33,000 spectators – though the venue can be expanded to seat up to 40,000 with temporary seating.

Funding for the US$268m venue comes from multiple sources, including a grant of US$80m from the Government of Saskatchewan, as well as a US$100m loan to be paid off through ticket surcharges. The city will provide US$73m, to be subsidized through property tax increases, while the Roughriders will provide most of the rest.

The extremities of the local climate were an important influence on the design. Mark Williams, principle at HKS Architects, says it has to withstand strong winds, snow and sun. As a result, the majority of seats will be placed in a sunken bowl to shield fans from the elements. This means 68% of fans will walk into the stadium and then go down to their seats instead of up.

The design includes a translucent spectator roof, which will partially cover the stadium. The south end zone will remain uncovered, though the stadium will be built to support the construction of a full roof in the future. To protect spectators from wind, the lower bowl will be located 33ft below ground level. The rim’s curved design will also prevent snow from accumulating on the roof.

David W Smith is a freelance sports journalist who contributes regularly to The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian.

January 29, 2016

 

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