Giving Someone New a Chance

As a child football never really interested me and to this day it still doesn’t.  That does not mean that I did not enjoy going to the old Metrodome stadium.  Our beloved Minnesota Twins used to play there and they actually won some games.  Watching Brad Radke pitch and hit was amazing to me.  I always had this imagination that one day he would hit the ball out of the stadium just like in cartoons but, that was something that would never happen because of the design choice to enclose the stadium.  That never made sense to me, especially since the material was inflatable Teflon plastic.

Not to say that Teflon does not have good attributes because its properties were taken into account when using it for the stadium.  I’m sure that the architects of the Metrodome were appealed by the idea that this material was durable in extremes temperatures from as high as 260°C to as low as -240°C.  Especially due to Minnesota being a state of extreme cold.  This material would be able to withstand that and the fact that this was a non-stick and non-wetting with a low coefficient of friction; it was probably assumed that snow would not have the opportunity to rest on top of it.  In 2010 this assumption was proven wrong though when the Metrodome roof collapsed.

So is this a result of application failure or bad architecture?  I think it is a result of bad architecture because as an architect one should know the limits of a material choice.  The architects of this project failed to address certain issues of this material choice that could have prevented the collapse of the roof.  Questions that should have been asked were: what is the maximum load that this material can take, what are ways that we can support the material just in case it exceeds expected loads, what are ways that we could maximize the strength of this light weight thin material?

Now HKS Inc. is going to have their chance to take a building the new football stadium.  They have yet to reveal any renderings or ideas that have been proposed but they were the ones to take on projects such as the Cowboys Stadium and the Lucas Oil Stadium.  There have been suggestions ma

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de that they will incorporate a retractable roof to be able to change the conditions of each game giving it the option to be indoors or outside which is something I am excited to see.  Mainly, I want to see how they overcome the challenges that the previous architects couldn’t.


One comment

  1. As part of HKS’s need for public input on the stadium’s design, they did release a rendering of it. Essentially, the roof is broken up into ribbon-like panels that, when viewed directly from below, create the illusion of a continuous roof. When visitors look to either side, however, large window panels allow natural light to flood in, making for a balance between an enclosed stadium and one lit naturally. The link to an article with the rendering can be found here.

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