Stadium Reveal, Vikings New Glass Cathedral

It’s pretty awesome that we got to watch the unveiling today of the stadium where our Minnesota Vikings will be playing for many years to come. Think about that for a second… Just a couple years ago the idea of a new stadium seamed unattainable. Today, we’re talking about how big the monitors are going to be and exactly how many toilets will be provided.

I think we all just need to take that in for a moment.

Good? Okay, let’s move on.

I wanted to outline some of the details of the new stadium, provide some pretty-picture renderings andgive a bit of my own personal opinion. (I have an education in Architecture, so my opinion matters. Not really, though…)

New Vikings Stadium Front Rendering

The Details:

  • We Americans adore our TV screens. So much so that one of the new stadium design’s first features discussed in detail was its brand new, humongous monitors at each end of the stadium. I don’t remember the exact square footage stated but it was of some astronomical amount. On top of that, there are also two levels of video ribbons that wrap the upper levels. And if that wasn’t enough, there will be roughly 1,200 TVs located throughout the facility so you can see what’s happening wherever you are. Is that enough pixels for everyone out there?
  • The technology doesn’t stop there… It was also mentioned that you will be able to interact with and within the new facility at a ‘micro’ level. Or, in other words, you’ll be able to do some cool stuff from your iPhone 9. (I think Apple will be somewhere in that range by the time this thing opens up.)
  • “Remove snow from the roof.” Apparently this was a big design factor for HKS… Not sure why. Doesn’t snow just melt? What’s the big deal…? Seriously though, it’s obvious the environment, climate and the history of the Minnesota area played a big role in the form of the stadium. I’ve heard fans screaming for some sort of integration of an iconic Vikings ship into the design of the stadium. That sort of thing just isn’t going to happen anymore. This isn’t the nineties and it’s not Las Vegas. Heck, even Las Vegas has gotten away from the literal interpretations of medieval times (The Excalibur) or Egyptian Pyramids (The Luxor)… Things are more interpretative now; abstract. There doesn’t need to be an actual Vikings ship within the facility in order for the stadium to read like that of the Minnesota Vikings. Right away, the design has a very ‘nautilus’ feel to it. This is largely due to the sharp angles of the roof and the humongous pivoting glass doors (the largest in the world) that visually suggest boat sails. The sharp angles of the roof also allow for easier ways to deal with snowfall while also creating an array of opportunities for natural light to find it’s way into the space.
  • Which leads us to the roof. This has been the topic of much discussion. Is it retractable? Will it be open air and will the Vikings rejoin others in the black and blue division who are forced to play outside in the bone-aching low-temperatures and the snow of the Winter? Will it be a dome much like the Metrodome? In the end, HKS choose to do something somewhere in the middle of all that. A glass roof. Yes, I know… “A glass roof after what happened at the Metrodome?!” (My wife said the same thing…) But, I highly, highly doubt there will be any such problem here. Primarily because the transparent roof (located on the south side of the structure) is not, in fact, glass. Instead it is a material called ETFE, or Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene. ETFE is a transparent plastic that is known for being very durable and strong. This same material was used to build the famous Beijing National Aquatics Centre.
  • The form of the new stadium was designed utilizing passive environmental design techniques to make the building more sustainable as well as comfortable for its inhabitants. The large pitched roofs create a loft space at the height of the stadium. We all know that hot air rises. The design will allow hot air to be gathered further away from the inhabitants of the stadium and released there. The general idea behind the stadium’s mechanical cooling system is that air will be blown down over the seating as cooler air will naturally find it’s way down. These types of techniques are very common in passive design and it’s good to see the Architects utilizing this sort of design. This combined with the natural lighting which should permeate most of the stadium due to it’s openness, on first glance, makes Minnesota’s new stadium a sustainable one. And it sounds like the building will attempt to become “LEED-certified.”
  • The stadium will be integrated with the existing ‘sky-walk’ system.
  • The main facade of the stadium will feature a large projection graphic. The rendering currently shows everyone’s favorite running back but, according to HKS, this image can be changed with ease to fit the particular event.
  • The stadium features a huge steel truss at the peak of the pitched roofs which allows for the openness and transparency of the stadium. According to HKS, there will views of the field throughout the concourse.
  • Another thing that set’s Minnesota’s Stadium apart is that it is “at grade.” Or, in other words, you don’t have to walk up to get into the stadium. The field/event will be below where you are when you come in. Upon entrance into the stadium you should immediately be at the lower concourse and have an immediate view of the field.
  • While it was brushed over quickly in the stadium presentation, it does look like thought was put into how this giant new structure fits into the existing fabric of Downtown Minneapolis. There is an apparent axis from the stadium to the Sports District and Target field as well as a perpendicular axis to two adjacent parks. It is yet to be seen how the stadium integrates at a more ‘micro’ level, but as this is just a schematic design, it’s not surprising.
  • points out that there will be a large plaza to the west for “game day, non-game day and seasonal public gatherings…”
  • Restroom facilities weren’t discussed in detail but HKS did acknowledge them and noted that there would be an adequate supply.
  • And finally, the stadium is roughly 1.6 million square feet, houses up to 73,000 seats and has seven levels.

The Pictures:

Head on over to the Official Vikings website for more pictures of the new stadium design.


Adam and I were chatting while the first images of the new stadium were being released. His initial reaction was very much like mine. “It looks like a huge glass cathedral for our Purple Jesus.” That sums it up pretty well, don’t you think?

Really, though… On first glance, I wasn’t blown away by the form of the building. It came across a little clunky… a little bulky. Much of the presentation was about how the roof and the stadium overall was supposed to feel light and airy and that just wasn’t the first impression I got. That being said, like I mentioned above, to me, the stadium feels like some sort of giant ship. Just the way the roof slants and the highest point cantilevers out past everything else just seems very ‘Noah’s Arc” to me. It’s subtle enough that it’s not a giant ship in the stadium (a la Tampa Bay Buccaneers) yet still reads as “Minnesota Vikings,” which is a great thing.

Upon listening to the presentation, I started to understand a lot of the design decisions HKS made a little more and the design grew on me. I think they made a lot of solid choices about how the stadium works within the environment, climate, the existing fabric of the city as well as echoing some of the historic forms of Scandinavian architecture.

I really love the decision to implement the ETFE roof on one side of the building. This is a fantastic move as it will really open the space up while allowing natural daylight in without the hassle of direct sunlight. Excellent design decision there.

One of the things that bugs me slightly about the design is it’s massive scale at the human level. As you can see in the final image/rendering above, the structure is behemoth. I think the overall stadium and the absolutely enormous glass doors juxtaposed to the ant-sized pedestrians is a little telling. I think something needs to be done there to bring it down to earth and have some interaction at a human level. There may be some things they can do with monuments/statues and the like to allow people to interact face-to-face with something their size.

I like the decision to have two larger monitors at the ends of the stadium as opposed to having one enormous one floating over the middle. The latter would not work well with the open-concept of the stadium and I don’t like the idea of a humongous box dangling over our entire franchise.

I’d still like to see in more detail how the stadium really acts within the existing fabric of the city and what sort of things are immediately adjacent. From the renderings in the presentation, it looks like it’s just sort of placed there and surrounded by landscaping and parking. I know parking is important to many people but HKS was touting that the stadium would create a vibrant, diverse metropolitan area around the stadium and I’m just not seeing it yet.

I feel like the projection imagery (shown as Adrian Peterson in the renderings) could have been integrated a little better. Honestly, it kind of comes off as an afterthought – something that was thrown on there at the last second. My mind was set at ease a little bit when HKS explained it was a projection that could be adjusted as necessary, but still, it doesn’t come off as an integral part of the design.

Overall, I do like the design of the new stadium. There are a couple angles I’m not fond of visually but I really like what HKS has done and can’t wait to see it come to life.

Hopefully this little write up was enjoyable to read. This kind of stuff is what I do so the presentation tonight was particularly exciting to me. My hope is that I was able to provide a little detail/insight that you weren’t able to find elsewhere. Personally, I am just so happy that the Vikings are going to have a new place to call home in Minnesota. HKS may have been able to present a concrete box and I wouldn’t have been that upset. We’re finally, really getting our stadium!

What are your guys’ thoughts? Anything you don’t like particularly? Anything you love? What are some questions you still have? Anything not addressed in the presentation tonight that you’re still wondering about? Let us know – would love to hear from you guys.

Show More

Brett Anderson

Brett Anderson (Founder) is a passionate Viking fan hailing from Sin City, Las Vegas. He can remember, as a child, scraping his knee on the playground and his friends being completely shocked by the purple blood trickling from the wound. When Brett isn't scouring the Internet for some semblance of Vikings news, he enjoys blindly putting money on them to beat whoever their opponent may be, and daydreams about being their next Tight End. Brett graduated from UNLV with a degree in Architecture and specializes in web/graphic design; he hopes to provide this site’s visitors with the best Vikings experience on the net.

Related Articles


  1. I haven’t had a chance to read through everything the team released so maybe this is covered, but does anyone know if this plastic/glass windows have UV protection for the people sitting under them? It would be kinda nice if I didn’t have to cover myself in sunscreen while sitting in an indoor stadium. My last trip to TCF Bank left me looking like a lobster so this issue is near and dear to me.

        1. The main reason I bring this up is because I have seen some tax payer funded projects get completely bastardized by architects that care much more about how their project looks from the street or on the TV than they do about the actual functionality of the end result for the people that paid for it. To me putting some kind of UV coating on all that ETFE is just plain common sense, but this is precisely the type of detail that gets completely overlooked until the project is done and people start complaining about it. At that point it ends up costing two or three times more to fix it than it would have cost to do it right in the first place. I think this design is pretty cool, but my first concerns are all about the sun. Whether your talking sunburn, shadowing, or not being able to see the action on the field because of glare, these things need to be brought up before construction is started, not after the first game has been played.

            1. I thought about adding a disclaimer stating this isn’t how I feel about all architects Brett, so sorry if you took offense. I bet you could give some examples of folks you’ve run across in your profession that left you shaking your head because they just didn’t get it though, right? It happens in all lines of works and any time you have a project that will be featured on the national stage like this one is I think it’s a good idea to bring this point up. I have read a little more about the project though and don’t really think that’s going to be the case here.

  2. I really like how this design. It’s very unique and doesn’t have a boring feel to it at all (think Lucas Oil field in indy). I really like how it has a natural felling and I hope it will be great. Hopefully I’ll get to see a game there once or twice.

  3. Well, it’s not anything like the old Met, that’s for sure. Looks more like a cathedral than a football stadium, which I’m not sure I like. Guess I’m just too practical to appreciate the largest glass doors in the world or the need to install 1200 TV’s. I’m with Cal, at least it keeps them here – I’ll let younger generations decide the coolness factor.

  4. It’s cool. Much better than the dome. Agree Brett…a little bulky. I like the side view, very sleek. It would be extra cool if the glass part of the roof was actually open. Is that thing made to where at a later time it could be made to open?

    1. No, that will definitely be closed. It would be neat if the panes were operable somehow and on some motor where they could be opened… But that’s not going to happen.

  5. I like it. I like stadiums that are unique and immediately identifiable, and this one fits the bills…not to mention that it’s indoors, so we can unleash the Ponder passing attack for years to come.

    Tomb approved design, get on it Zygmund.

  6. Love it, really like that a lot of the concourses have views of the field. It’ll be great to walk in the giant glass wall and have an immediate view of the field and video screen

    1. The Love Boat?
      The Horn-y Hole?
      The Purple Steeple Seaters?

      Discuss amongst yourselves.

            1. It’s OK to play football or baseball on a lawn. That’s why God created grass in the first place, and for deer and livestock grazing, of course. But not to ride bikes across or let your dog stop and drop a pound.

  7. Brett, I’m curious…as you are a formally trained architect, would you agree this design lends heavily from the Scandanavian post-modernism movement? Especially going from the pure functionality of the dome to this aesthetic delight, it almost seems like a depiction of the movement itself.

    1. Well, I’m no trained architect, but I think that’s pretty obviously the case, Tomb.

      1. I know….as soon as I submitted comment, I realized I may as well have been sporting a Captain Obvious cape.

    2. I understand where you’re coming from but I have a slightly different take. Postmodernism is really about ornament and form for ornament’s sake… While Modernism finds its form as a direct result of its functionality. Personally, and I’m far from an expert on the postmodernist movement, I see this design as somewhere in the middle. Obviously there were some design decisions made that seem to be strictly based on creating a certain look. For the most part though, a lot of the major design decisions that influenced the form are backed by functional ideas. For example, the pitched roof is a result of the climate, energy efficiency (passive design), creating an open, airy interior and also referencing the architecture indigenous of that area. For real postmodern design you want to look at guys like Michael Graves who would do things like put a giant fake ribbon on the facade of the building just for the sake of putting it there; for aesthetics.

      The abundance of glass is derived from the desire to make the stadium feel like it’s open air. The large sail doors act as a way to get fresh air into the space using cross ventilation from the openings on the opposite side.

      So, what I guess I’m saying is that I really don’t see this design as a true postmodern building. Some minor elements, yes…But overall, I thinks a hybrid that is difficult to classify.

      1. OK, thanks for answering, and I think we agree to some extent, I said “lends heavily,” not “built upon.” It’s like they made a point of using the functionalities you listed, but, with purpose, expanded on those with an artistic flair to almost defy the plodding nature of the “welfare state” that somewhat defined the prior era.

        …or am I reading too much into this?

  8. As a graphic artist, I will chime in my thoughts. I love the angles and the glass, very classy look.
    I also see a space-age ark ship stadium. I like it. I think somewhere in the presentation they talked about the feature of being able to “beam” you right up to your seat… Star Trek style.

    Anyway, my only concern is Jeff Locke punting the ball through the glass roof.

  9. I was hoping for something good, but not necessarily expecting it. I was elated when I saw the drawings. It is the best looking stadium I have ever seen both inside and outside and I have seen a lot of them. My wife has talked about getting a condo downtown and I was never much interested in that, but if I had a view of this to look at everyday… I mean wow, this might be the best building in the state. This is the kind of thing that makes you glad you pay taxes and get to live here!

  10. Great site. Just came across it by googling ‘reaction to new Vikings stadium’. Really like the comments. I was at the presentation and first reaction was ‘What the h is that?’ But as I look at different renderings it is growing on me quite a bit. Opinions of others who like it and give specific reasons why help. Power of suggestion is amazing. Someone mentioned it looking like a ship and from there on it progressively grew on me. I always loved the front or main entrance. It was the rest of it I wasn’t so sure about Was all for something modern, but guess I was set on the stadium they have shown on the site for the last 6 months. Not the ribbon top one but the all glass one (if one can believe that there was actually a model that had even more glass than this.) Found it:
    When it didn’t end up being that, guess I was initially disappointed. But certainly less so now.

    1. Welcome to VT. As for the stadium I’m with you and still a little disappointed, I was hoping for something more unique. At least its not as boring as Lucas oil stadium or any dome.

    2. Welcome Red,
      Always nice to see different folks pop in, I think you will like this site a lot.
      Great guys running the show here 🙂

    3. Any chance you would consider changing your name to “Purple”, Red? Would hate to see anyone accuse you of being a secret Cardinal or Chiefs fan. But either way, welcome aboard.

      Give us a little flavor of your location on the Ponder chart. We got ’em from top to bottom around here.

    4. Hey Red, sorry for the delay in writing this, but I wanted to welcome you to Vikings Territory! You hit the nail on the head, the readers and the comments here are the best on the net and you seem like you’d fit right in! Hope to see you again soon!

      (Hack Blogger)

  11. Good humor. No, Red it is. My Dad’s name as well. And actually, I do like the Chiefs somewhat (have family in KC) but I love the Vikings and have since I was five. As for Ponder, this third year is the big one. Eli Manning was getting hammered by fans and press as well and then his third year happened and silenced most of them. Ponder needs to do the same or we need to look elsewhere. My thing is I’m not sure if Ponder is the problem or if it is Musgrave’s game plans. Now that Ponder and Musgrave have a couple more offensive weapons, I think they both need to show something more this year. But to really answer the actual question, my thought is Ponder will. Now whether that is my hope getting in the way of rational thought, who knows. We’ll find out.