Minnesota Vikings new stadium has roof thats closed, and thats by design -

Minnesota Vikings new stadium has roof thats closed, and thats by design -

Rendering of the new Vikings stadium released Monday, May 13, 2013. (Courtesy Minnesota Vikings)

When the Vikings open their new stadium in 2016, they also will guarantee that the two years of outdoor football they’re scheduled to play at TCF Bank Stadium in 2014 and 2015 will be an aberration in the team’s history. But in the end, those involved in designing the stadium believe, a retractable roof in Minnesota simply wouldn’t have offered enough bang for its considerable buck.

The Vikings’ new stadium will have a fixed roof made of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), a clear plastic material designed to make fans feel as though they’re sitting outside without actually exposing them to Minnesota weather. Bryan Trubey, a principal at HKS Sports architectural firm, said the roof will be the first of its kind on a stadium, and the new facility will have the largest glass pivoting doors in the world.

Trubey would not discuss whether HKS and Mortensen Construction, the contractor on the stadium, could have added a retractable roof and stayed under the $975 million budget, but he said in Minnesota’s climate, the perception of being outdoors made more sense than the reality of it, anyway.

"It really wasn’t the right move for the building," Trubey said. "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.


Fans wanting the return of outdoor football to Minnesota — at least in the first half of the season — might be disappointed with the design, but those wanting a sleeker, more modern viewing experience will get it.

The stadium includes two 50-by-120-foot scoreboards and more than 1,200 HD flat screen televisions in the concourse, which is completely open to the playing surface like the ones at the Xcel Energy Center and Target Field. The acoustics in the new stadium will be upgraded over the Metrodome’s muddled soundscape.

The stadium will seat 65,000 fans, and the Vikings claim some of the stadium’s seats will be closer to the action than any in the NFL.

Minnesota Vikings new stadium has roof thats closed, and thats by design -

The stadium also will be connected to the Minneapolis skyway system, and fans will be able to stay connected to their smartphones and tablets through a set of Wi-Fi and cellular networks that Trubey said will be robust enough to handle traffic demands.

"Every time we open one of these new buildings, a lot of the learning curve passes into history," he said. "We’ve had seven or eight really big buildings open up — especially closed buildings — and we have the total and absolute focus of most of our technology providers. They know they were significantly kind of underthinking about that (in the past). We’ve passed a few thresholds that enable us to feel a lot better about opening the building and having all the amenities work."

It was clear Tuesday night that the Vikings’ new stadium will be geared toward versatility, both to host big events like the Super Bowl and the Final Four and to accommodate many of the things the Metrodome has hosted for years, like the Prep Bowl, early-season Gophers baseball games and a slew of indoor winter activities.

A retractable roof was, at best, superfluous as HKS and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority considered most of those goals. And 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.

"It became clear that if people wanted to have a view of the city. all that glass and those pivoting doors were going to give people a much better opportunity than, like, the sunroof of your car — just an opening in the roof," MSFA chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said. "On an hour-to-hour basis, I think we’re going to get a lot more for fans and for all the people using the building, by having all that glass in the front of the building."

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