The American football season comes to a close this weekend with Super Bowl LII, and we’re right next to the action. Shakopee, where KEB America is headquartered, is just a few miles south of the home of the Minnesota Vikings football team and their shining new home field, US Bank Stadium. This year, the Super Bowl is being held in Minneapolis, giving us a chance to show off the new stadium and all of the technical innovation that went into its design and build.
US Bank Stadium was designed by HKS, an architecture firm out of Texas with a great deal of experience in designing stadiums. During the design phase of the project retractable roofs were all the rage in football stadiums. Another stadium by HKS, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, has this feature and KEB America was able to supply some of the components for the control of the retractable roof. For the stadium in Minneapolis, a transparent roof – the largest in the nation – was selected instead, giving visitors a clear view of the city’s skyline.
Another neat feature of the transparent roof comes from its need to support a lot of snow. The previous stadium – The Metrodome – had an air-supported roof that collapsed under the weight of heavy Minnesota winter snows five times. The new roof is made from strong ETFE plastic and modeled after Nordic architecture. Snow slides off the slanted portions of the roof, accumulates in a heated gutter, and runs into the Mississippi river.
Even though the roof of the stadium is stationary, there is large-scale motion to wow visitors. Five gigantic pivoting doors open up as visitors enter the stadium, providing a seamless visual transition from the outside elements to the climate-controlled interior. And this weekend, with temperatures hovering around zero degrees, protection from the wind and snow will be appreciated!
There are seven levels to the stadium, accessed by eleven elevators and thirty-three escalators. State-of-the-art “people moving” technology not something we typically think of when thinking of the success of a venue, but imagine a seven-floor arena with slow elevators or jerky escalators! Getting people to their seats quickly and smoothly is a big part of the stadium experience.
Once you’re in your seat and enjoying the big game, you may want to snap a quick selfie to share with your friends. The stadium’s designers have this covered, too. There are over a thousand WiFi access points as part of a cutting-edge wireless network infrastructure capable of supporting 30,000 simultaneous users while keeping communication flowing behind the scenes as well.
When discussing control and design of modern structures you can’t forget to mention energy efficiency. The LEED Gold-certified stadium uses super flexible and efficient LED lighting, boasts that 90% of all waste is compostable or recyclable, and even has 180 bike racks for environmentally-conscious transportation to the game. If it’s too cold to try out the Minneapolis bike-share program and ride to the game, you can always take the light rail. The stadium also makes use of the technologically advanced wireless network to send temperature information back to control systems in real time so the climate of the structure can be adjusted to the most efficient levels without significant delay.
As you view US Bank Stadium from the outside you can see how it resembles a viking ship, sailing towards downtown Minneapolis. And just like any good viking ship, there’s plenty of good food and beer inside – but, fortunately or unfortunately, no lutefisk.
Enjoy the game!