It Will Be 9 Degrees At Kickoff Sunday, You'll Be Glad To Be Inside!!


As the NFL has grown into a $14 billion business, its tentpole event has morphed into a sort of supersized trade show—CES on grass, if you will. Football people gather to exchange ideas, gossip over boozy dinners and forecast trends; there’s talk of scientific and technological advances, of new schemes sweeping the league. This year, much of that discussion will focus on the Super Bowl venue itself. U.S. Bank Stadium, with its BFG-sized glass doors, see-through roof and angular design, resembles an ancient Viking warship. But the gleaming monolith also represents the future of stadium design.  That design began to coalesce at a 2012 meeting inside of an actual relic: the old Metrodome. The Vikings’ home of 30 years was past its prime, and the team’s owners were taking pitches from five architecture firms for a new building. Among those finalists was Dallas-based HKS, a relative newcomer to the NFL market. HKS’s reps queued up a PowerPoint slide entitled “Bowl Design Before HKS,” with photos of four buildings designed by competitors: SunLife, Qualcomm, Arrowhead and the old Giants Stadium. Side by side, the structures were difficult to tell apart. The point: For ages football teams in particular had been building massive concrete edifices with no distinct personalities.  Then HKS showed the Wilf family, which owns the Vikings, three concepts. One involved a giant arch and a clear roof that curved to the ground, like the toe of a giant glass slipper. Another called for the roof to be split into six sloping ribbons. The last one was a strong, slanted structure that jutted into the sky and, to some, resembled a ship.

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