The nearly billion-dollar Viking stadium that will rise from the ruins of the old Metrodome will be big and bold, and it will put fans closer to the action than any other venue in professional football.
It’ll have giant pivoting glass doors that open to the downtown Minneapolis skyline and a roof that, while not retractable, will let in so much sunlight come game days, fans will feel as though they’re sitting outdoors.
Seven stadium decks will surround a field of artificial turf and two giant high-tech scoreboards at each end zone will replay the big plays and flash the game stats.
In short, the still unnamed stadium, which will be connected by skyway to downtown, won’t be the Metrodome.
Details of the design were unveiled Monday by HKS Inc., the project architect, during an elaborate presentation at the Guthrie Theater. More than 500 people attended the event, including scores of fans decked out in purple-and-gold chanting the Vikings fight song and hollering approval from the balcony seats.
According to the first reviews from that admittedly biased crowd, the design scored big.
“The structure itself — it’s a beauty just to look at,” said Dulce Avalos, 18, a fan from Crystal.
“I love it,” said Colleen Hayes, a season-ticket holder from Burnsville. “It’s beautiful. I love light and airy and it’s all light and airy.”
Minutes after HKS principal Bryan Trubey finished unveiling the renderings to cheers and applause, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority approved the design and sent it to the city of Minneapolis for review.
At 1.6 million square feet, the stadium will be nearly twice the size of the outdated Dome. It’ll seat 65,000 fans for NFL games but accommodate up to 73,000 for special events, such as a Super Bowl.
The skyline’s newest addition will be asymmetrical and almost diamond-like in shape, featuring sharp angles and a roof line that rises to a peak on the downtown end, which doubles as the building’s grand entryway. From the side, that end juts out, resembling the prow of a ship or a jagged iceberg.
The building facade will be made of metal panels and a glazed glass curtain wall and have four entrances. A walkway will surround the stadium, leading fans to and from stadium gates.
Clerestory windows will circle the building just under its roof line. Five, 95-foot-tall pivoting glass doors at concourse level will allow fans to enter and exit a plaza — more than 2 acres in size — just outside the stadium.
“What we’re really building is a state of the art, indoor, statewide park of sorts that will be used by thousands of Minnesotans throughout the years,” said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the stadium authority.
Trubey also showed renderings of the facility housing a Final Four tournament and a Motocross event, as well as baseball, hockey and soccer games.
“This will be the most versatile structure on the planet,” he said.
Conspicuous by its absence was a retractable roof, a key feature pursued by the team and authority, and one that many fans, longing for a return to outdoor football and the team’s storied past, wanted to see.
To compensate, and give fans a sense of the outdoors, architects created openings for natural light.