US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis

America’s most popular sporting event, the Super Bowl, will take place at a new stadium in minneapolis, featuring angular protrusions, zinc cladding and a roof partly made of plastic film. Located in downtown Minneapolis, the US Bank Stadium is home to the Minnesota Vikings, a member of the National Football League (NFL). Encompassing 1.8 million square feet (167,225 square metres), the building also serves as a venue for events such as concerts, conventions and high school and college athletic games. The 66,200-seat stadium will host the 52nd Super Bowl, the most important American football game of the year.

The building occupies a prominent urban site totaling 38 acres (15 hectares). Wrapped in a faceted envelope, the steel-frame building has a sculptural form influenced by the region’s scandinavian heritage and natural topography. HKS designed the building to reflect the culture, climate and context of its city, drawing inspiration from ice formations on nearby. The exterior walls consist of dark zinc paneling set against vast sheets of glass. An angular protrusion on the western elevation has invoked references to the prow of Viking ships. One of the building’s prominent features is the legacy gate, which consists of five pivoting glass doors that range in height from 75 to 95 feet (22 to 29 metres). When opened, the gate connects the stadium to an adjacent plaza. The building is topped with a sloped roof, part of which is made of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), the same type of plastic used for the new US embassy in London by Kieran Timberlake and for the Eden Project in the UK, designed by Grimshaw Architects.

The first objective in designing the form of the building was to get snow off the roof of the stadium as quickly and simply as possible. To reduce structural loads and minimize building costs, the architects analyzed traditional Nordic architecture, determining that a sloped roof would offer both cultural and structural precedent to the challenge of building in Minneapolis’ snowy climate. The building has many sustainable features, which enabled it to earn LEED Gold certification from the US Green Building Council. In addition to natural illumination provided by glass walls and the plastic roof, the team incorporated LED sports lighting, which significantly reduces energy consumption.