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Monday, May 13, 2013
Vikings stadium: Minnesota's ice palace

By Kevin Seifert

design for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium
The Vikings new stadium will include the largest transparent roof in the world.

The Minnesota Vikings revealed the proposed design of their new stadium Monday night and, as promised, it included a fixed roof with "operable" doors and transparent technology designed to give a very Minnesota outdoor "feel" within a climate-controlled environment.

There's a photo embedded at the top of this post, but you can also look through a photo gallery on vikings.com or over at 1500ESPN.com.

The features include what the team said is the largest transparent roof in the world via the first clear ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) usage in a U.S. stadium. It will also have the "largest glass pivoting doors in the world," the team said. The doors will open to the west plaza and, presumably, the Minneapolis skyline. Skyways will connect the stadium to downtown parking and other buildings.

Many of you are looking for an immediate reaction to the design. I know less about engineering, architecture and design than I do football. I'm not big into aesthetics. I barely know how to wear matching clothes. Honestly, the first thing I thought of was the Fortess of Solitude, but that's more a comment on my limited reference points than the design itself.

But from a functional standpoint, the Vikings appear to have accomplished their goal of providing an outdoor element and feel without splurging on a retractable roof that likely would have been closed for more than half of the team's games. And as many of you have noted, the sloped roof is good for snow removal. (Come on, have some fun!)

Competitively, I'll be interested to know how crowd noise reverberates off an ETFE roof, and how loud the stadium will be when the doors are closed versus open. It's impossible to predict how new technology will perform.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for October 2013.