The Unique Design of the Vikings’ New Stadium

Published in Sport on 6th October 2016

The Unique Design of the Vikings’ New Stadium

The Vikings’ brand new U.S. Bank Stadium has an interesting feature; the roof of the stadium is designed to redirect most of the noise directly at a visiting team’s sideline, a fact that might not change NFL betting predictions but which should generate interest amongst fans.

Everyone knows just how loud the stadium can get. Minnesota left guard Alex Boone was heard famously shouting at the home fans to ‘Shut the F—Up’ during a game on September the 18th. 

As loud as Vikings players think things can get on game day, the visiting team probably has it a lot worse. The Vikings have openly admitted this strategy which, presumably, brings some sort of advantage to the table. 

It is difficult to determine whether this particular feature is even intentional, especially when you realize that it comes about as a result of two other defining features. The South half of the Stadium’s roof has a downward-sloping angle.

It is also constructed from a high-tech durable plastic manufactured by Vector Foiltec; the material is relatively common in Soccer Stadiums in Europe. The purpose of the angle of the roof is to make snow removal easier, which is a notable issue when you take into account Minnesota climate. 

In 2010, the Metrodome roof collapsed because of the weight of snow, and it is only logical that this new Stadium would purpose to avoid a similar issue. It is quickly becoming the norm to use ETFE (ethylene-tetra-fluoro-ethylene) restrained in aluminum in cushioned roofs for safety and durability purposes.

There is talk of HSK Architects installing ETFE in the Rams’ new stadium. This is the same company that designed Lucas Oil Stadium for Indianapolis and the AT&T stadium for Dallas. 

And as these works are going on, considerations are probably going to be made for the acoustic effect that has been achieved at the U.S Bank Stadium in Minnesota. And it would be a mistake to tout it as a completely beneficial feature.

Keep in mind the fact that when music stars like Luke Bryan and Metallica opened the Stadium in late August, the only way they could ensure their chords remained contained within the required space was to hang curtains to create the right dynamic.

The stadium has been under development for 16-years; most of those years were spent making plans and fine-tuning the design, this along with debating over the viability of including a retractable roof.

Anyone who was following that particular argument remembers that the retractable roof was rejected because of the complications raised by the weather. In place of a retractable roof, massive swinging doors were installed on the west side of the stadium.

For the most part, the new stadium was designed with multi-purpose elements, which is why ETFE was included in the construction.

The Stadium had to prove that it would be usable throughout the year in order to acquire the necessary funding. For this reason, do not be surprised to find the University of Minnesota Football team using the stadium next year when the season begins. 

Some fans have already started complaining about the noise; though the only answer the Vikings have given to questions raised is to advise fans to come with ear plugs.