Football season is officially underway and fans across the nation are rejoicing. In St. Paul, Minnesota, Vikings fans are already looking ahead to the 2016 season when the Vikings new stadium will be completed. In the meantime, construction has begun with the main level concourse and upper level concourses beginning to take shape. In about 4 months the exterior wall construction will begin and by February, workers will focus on the roof. After the roof of the old stadium collapsed under the weight of heavy snow back in 2010, an indestructible roof was an important feature of the new stadium’s design.
The ETFE roof is certainly the star of this unique stadium design. While it’s not widely used in roofing yet, ETFE is a co-polymer resin that is the total package: light-weight, transparent, self-cleaning, and extremely durable. Though it is just 1/100 the weight of glass, it still holds up under high winds and heavy snow & ice. The beauty of this material is it’s ability to let the outside in giving venue patrons the feeling of being outdoors while still being fully protected from the elements. Conversely, the stadium design embraces it’s urban environment and allows those on the outside to take a peek inside. While ETFE is not yet a go-to roofing material in the US, other countries have incorporated it into building design: Fischt Stadium (Sochi 2014 Olympics), Allianz Arena (Munich, Germany), The Water Cube (Bejing 2008 Olympics), Forsyth Barr Stadium (Dunedin, New Zealand), and Eden Project (Cornwall, UK) to name a few.
The design of Vikings Stadium has been met with overwhelming approval and proposals for stadium usage beyond football season is already being discussed. Vikings management has been in conversations with the MLS with the goal of landing a professional soccer team at the venue. The stadium location and Minnesota market make it an optimal setting for adding an MLS team, although Las Vegas and Sacramento are also contenders. Additionally, the NCAA is considering the stadium for a future men’s basketball Final Four and the stadium has already been selected for the Super Bowl in 2018.