Steel Shots: Tight Coverage

The pivoting wall panels are the world’s largest. Since they serve as the main entry point for the stadium even when they are closed, they include a series of standard entry doors at the base. These door banks must be ADA-compliant, so only a minimal threshold was allowed. 

U.S. Bank Stadium gives Minnesota Vikings fans the best of both worlds.

With natural sunlight pouring in through the clear roof and the glass western wall, the stadium conveys a feeling of being outdoors without subjecting fans to the sometimes harsh winter weather conditions and extreme temperature swings for which Minnesota is well known—especially late in the NFL season.

This outdoor experience is exactly what stadium officials were looking for, though not quite how they imagined it. The trend in state-of-the-art stadiums was to incorporate a retractable roof, and that’s what the Minnesota Sports and Facilities Authority initially envisioned. However, after much consideration the design team, led by architect HKS and structural engineer Thornton Tomasetti, determined that with Minneapolis’ ground snow loads in the range of 50 lb per sq. ft and drift loads over three times that, a retractable roof, which would rarely be opened, would come at a hefty price tag. Instead, they presented the idea of a fixed transparent ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) roof, the largest application of its kind in North America, paired with the world’s largest pivoting wall panels—and that is what the project team delivered.

For more about the project, see the article “Tight Coverage” in our November issue (available now!).