Roof is the rage with new Vikings stadium

The Minnesota Vikings unveiled details of their new stadium, and the largest translucent roof in the world will be the most unique feature.

After living in their old home since 1982, the Minnesota Vikings revealed the essentials of their new stadium design Monday night at a public unveiling at the Guthrie Theater in downtown Minneapolis.

The key feature: an immense translucent south-facing roof that will give the appearance of an outdoor environment while keeping the game inside. The new stadium will have the largest transparent roof in the world, and the largest glass doors that pivot and open to the downtown skyline.

"The design reflects the true story of the Minnesota community with its international style driven by climatic response and energy conservation," said Bryan Trubey, design principal with HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, the lead on the stadium design. "The interior volume makes it the most versatile, multi-use building in the country with the most advanced digital age technology."

According to part of the presentation Monday night, "Rule number one: Keep the snow off the roof." That is a jab at the Metrodome roof that collapsed in December 2010 and caused two of the Vikings' final home games that season to be moved to Detroit and the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium.

"The steep roof allows us to keep the snow off the roof," Trubey said, adding that it will be the lightest roof structure for a stadium of this size because of the steep slope. The translucent material ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, the same material used for the aquatics center in Beijing that became famous during the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Construction is expected to start on the footprint of the Metrodome site in October and the demolition of the Metrodome is slated after the Vikings finish their 2013 season. They will play the 2014 and 2015 seasons at TCF Bank Stadium, an outdoor complex, with the new stadium expected to be ready in July 2016.

"Vikings fans will be closer to the action than any stadium in the country," said Vikings owner/chairman Zygi Wilf. "The combination of operable end walls with a clear roof and large windows throughout the facility will give fans the opportunity to experience the best of both worlds: an outdoor feel with protection from the elements."

Technology was another key feature in the new stadium. It will have two of the largest video boards in the NFL, according to Trubey – two high-definition boards measuring 50 feet tall by 120 feet wide. Wireless Internet will also be available to the fans.

The stadium will also be connected to the Minneapolis skywalk system.

"This will be the most versatile structure on the planet," Trubey said.

The new stadium has yet to be named – revenue from the naming rights will help the Vikings fulfill their $477 million commitment to the $975 million project – but it will seat 65,000 and be expandable to 73,000 seats for hosting a future Super Bowl. The City of Minneapolis is responsible for $150 million of the cost and the rest falls on the State of Minnesota, which has been increasing electronic gambling and looking for other revenue streams to cover its commitment.

The structure will also be capable of hosting NCAA Final Four basketball tournaments, baseball tournaments, Major League Soccer events and concerts.

HKS architects was the lead in the new stadiums for the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts.

"I'm just so excited about tonight because it draws it one step closer to reality," Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said.

Other key statistics and features for the new venue:

  • Approximately 1.6 million square feet.

  • Seven levels, including two general admission concourses with 360-degree circulation and various views into the bowl.

  • Over 1,200 HD flat screen televisions throughout the concourse.

  • A plaza on the west side more than two acres in size.

  • Largest clear ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) roof in the world and the first on a stadium in the nation, allowing connection to the outdoors from a climate-controlled environment.

  • Largest glass pivoting doors in the world that will open to the west plaza.

    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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