Posts tagged with "Football Stadium":

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Raiders’ Las Vegas stadium clears final hurdle

Today the Raiders inked a deal that allows for construction to proceed on their 65,000-seat, Manica Architecture–designed stadium in Las Vegas. Raiders President Marc Badain and Steve Hill, chairman of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, the public entity that facilities the construction and financing of the project, agreed to a deal that allows the $1.8 billion project to move forward. With that, the Raiders are cleared to move from their current home in Oakland, California, to their new digs in the Nevada desert. So far, the team has spent $180 million on the stadium, a figure that includes preliminary site work and last year's $77.5 million purchase of the 62-acre property. At the meeting in Orlando yesterday, NFL owners okayed a $200 million league loan that will finance the construction, with only one of the league's 32 owners voting against the deal. On the public side, the Las Vegas Sun reported that Clark County (which includes Las Vegas) will direct $750 million in hotel room tax revenue towards the project. In a Q&A posted on the Raiders website, owner Mark Davis expounded on the stadium design, comparing it favorably to the stadium the team almost occupied in California:
"I think it’s an iconic building, number one. It’s something that… the basic structure of it and everything has brought the dynamic back to what we were doing with the Carson building with the Chargers. I just fell in love with the architectural design of it. To adapt that building that we did for Carson, put a roof on it… to come out with glass, which has always been a prerequisite for me. To get that aspect done, I think building looks fantastic. Just excited that the Raiders will have a home. Something the fans can be proud of, the league can be proud of, the players can be proud of..."
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that construction is expected to be finished by August 1, 2020, about a month before the regular season begins.
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HOK’s oscillating Atlanta stadium is now LEED Platinum certified

HOK’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, just became the first LEED Platinum–certified professional sports stadium in the world. The $1.5 billion project opened in August and is best known for its operable, aperture-shaped roof, but HOK and Buro Happold Engineering have also integrated a suite of sustainability features into the base design of the stadium. Replacing the now-defunct Georgia Dome as the home of the Atlanta Falcons, the 2-million-square-foot, 71,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium is styled after the Roman Pantheon, as the entire arena is centered around a domed oculus. Because the building is multi-use—designed for holding football, soccer, and basketball games—and because Falcons owner Arthur Blank had wanted to build what he described as an “iconic stadium” with a retractable roof, a watertight aperture was designed for the roof. Comprising eight 200-foot-long, 450-ton blades clad in Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (EFTE) film, the roof’s semi-transparent iris is capable of opening and closing in only nine minutes. Because every petal needs to swing into place at a different speed, not rotate like a true aperture, the roof uses an algorithm to judge how much counter-balance is needed while the blades are cantilevering out over the field. Reinforcing the centralized focus of the design is a 350-ton, six-story, ring-shaped “Halo Board” seated inside the oculus itself that’s viewable from every seat and angle. Outside, the stadium’s base is a wall-to-ceiling glass curtain wall meant to give uninterrupted views of the surrounding city as fans make their way to their seats. Eight steel and glass “leaves” radiate out from the aperture at the top of the stadium and drape down over the glass at the bottom, referencing the swooping wings in the Falcons’ logo. According to HOK, Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s LEED score of 88 points is the highest of any sports venue. Through the use of its 4,000 photovoltaic panels, the stadium produces enough solar electricity to power nine football games, or 13 soccer games. By using water-conserving fixtures and infrastructure adjustments, the building uses up to 47 percent less water than a building of comparable size. The location was also key, as the stadium is located between three MARTA bus lines and next to a forthcoming 13-acre green space that fans can use between games. The site also features electrical vehicle charging stations, bike parking, and new pedestrian paths. An incredibly complex project that required coordination between architects and structural engineers at every step of the way, the stadium still isn’t fully operational even though it’s in use. Work on the roof is still ongoing, and engineers hope to have the aperture fully functional by the time Atlanta hosts the Final Four basketball tournament in 2020. The stadium's innovative high performance facade will also be discussed more in-depth at Facade Plus's Atlanta conference in January 2018.
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Las Vegas gambles its future on sports, conventions, and leisure

As Las Vegas recovers from the Great Recession, city and business leaders are betting that the region’s future lies in a more diverse set of recreational offerings than the ones that made the city famous. Though many of the transformative projects are still in the planning or construction phases, the signs are clear: The boom-and-bust region is moving away from a strictly gambling-focused urbanism toward one more broadly defined by indiscriminate leisure, including sports, large-scale conventions, relaxation, and even traditional mixed-use urbanism.

Most spectacularly, city and business leaders triumphed in their quest to lure the Oakland Raiders to Sin City with a new $1.9 billion stadium designed by Kansas City, Missouri–based Manica Architecture. The stadium, to be built for the 2020 season, features a horseshoe-shaped seating arrangement that faces an operable building wall oriented toward the Strip. The complex will feature a celebration terrace containing a 120-foot tall cauldron honoring storied Raiders coach Al Davis, as well.

Adding to the sports frenzy, local architects YWS recently unveiled plans for a 30,000-square-foot Esports venue, Las Vegas’s first virtual sports facility. The complex will contain a multilevel arena, large-scale video wall, and a broadcast studio, all expected to open in early 2018.

The city is scrambling to prepare for the Raiders by embarking on $900 million in road and transit improvements, including a potential 1.14-mile monorail extension. The link would create a five-mile-long elevated train line connecting the stadium with 12 hotel and casino properties and the Las Vegas Convention Center. To boot, state agencies recently proposed a $12.5 billion plan for a new light rail system for the city.

The city is also looking to expand and upgrade its existing convention center by adding 600,000 square feet of exhibit space to the aging complex. The bet here is for Las Vegas to draw larger convention crowds, competing with cities like Orlando and Chicago (which are also expanding their convention centers). The new convention center is expected to draw an additional 610,000 visitors to the city, plus $810 million in revenue for good measure.

Closer to the forthcoming stadium, work has been underway to diversify the city at the street level as well. Recently completed streetscape improvements by planning firm Cooper Robertson, Marnell Companies, and !melk landscape architects for the Park—an eight-acre pedestrian plaza and park located between the New York-New York and Monte Carlo resorts—have brought a bit of big-city life to the Strip. Designers on the project reoriented retail spaces to face what was formerly an alley and demolished a temporary sales center to create a new pedestrian park. Donald Clinton, partner at Cooper Robertson, said, “We were tasked to come up with new dining and entertainment uses that could actually face the strip.” When asked, “How can we upgrade what we’re doing in front of these older casinos?” Clinton explained that the project sought to bring new tenants to the reprogrammed street who could benefit from being near foot traffic while also connecting to the new, !melk-designed park. The design features a variety of native trees and shrubs, swale areas, and large, sculptural shade structures that collect water. The park is flanked on several sides by plaza areas serviced directly by brewpubs and cafes.

The scheme was enriched by the speculative development of the Populous-designed T-Mobile Arena, an LED-clad, diamond-inspired structure that seats up to 19,000 and contains a slew of VIP zones, lounges, and nightclubs at the end of the new promenade. Clinton explained that the city’s new approaches to urbanism were “still evolving,” but one thing is clear: Las Vegas is quickly becoming more than a gambler’s paradise.

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Raiders purchase 62-acre site for Las Vegas stadium

The Oakland Raiders National Football League (NFL) team has completed the purchase of a 62-acre site for their future stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas Journal Review reports that the site, located just to the west of the Mandalay Bay resort, cost $77.5 million to acquire, roughly 25 percent cheaper than had been originally anticipated. Site acquisition will allow the team—whose move to Las Vegas was approved in March by NFL team owners—to continue to pursue construction of their new $1.9 billion Manica Architecture-designed complex. The stadium design was repurposed and adapted to the Las Vegas climate from an earlier bid by the Raiders to move to Los Angeles. The 65,000-seat stadium will be located adjacent to Interstate-15 and will be connected to the city’s expanding monorail system once it is built out to Mandalay Bay in the coming years. In its current form the stadium's design includes an active facade with sliding panels that can open and shut depending on the weather. The real estate purchase also came with a shift in financials for the stadium proposal with billionaire Sheldon Adelson, one of the main backers of the relocation scheme, withdrawing his $650 million investment in the venture. Instead, the developers for the project have secured a $650 million loan from Bank of America that will be used to round-out the financial package for the project. The Raiders’s move comes after emotionally-fraught negotiations with Oakland city leaders and institutions fell through. Officials there that sought to keep the team in the Bay Area by reworking the team’s existing stadium which is currently shared with the Oakland Athletics baseball team. The future of that plan—and the Oakland-Alemeda Stadium, the last major stadium shared by major league football and baseball franchises in the country—is still up in the air. The Raiders will continue to play at in Oakland stadium through the 2019 season and are expected to move into their new stadium in Las Vegas for the 2020 NFL season.
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Oakland Raiders are moving to Las Vegas, aim to build new $1.15 billion stadium

National Football League (NFL) owners voted almost unanimously yesterday to approve plans for the Oakland Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas, heralding what could be the final play in the nearly two-year-long drama that has unfolded as several West Coast-based teams reshuffle hometowns. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was the only dissenting vote, saying, “we as owners… owe it to the fans to do everything we can to stay in the communities that have supported us until all options have been exhausted.” Las Vegas city officials have been courting the Oakland Raiders for months, offering $750 million in public financing for the team’s Manica Architecture–designed $1.15 billion stadium proposal. The 65,000 seat stadium—a recycled scheme left over from the team’s attempt to move to Carson, California last year—features a large-scale, retractable side wall that would allow the stadium to become partially open-air. The domed structure will potentially be located on either a site nearby the Mandalay Bay casino complex on the Las Vegas Strip, or atop a current portion of golf course belonging to the Bali Hai Golf Club. The stadium is being designed as a shared facility and will also host games for the University of Nevada football team. The relocation deal throws into question a plan released late last year from Oakland and Alameda County officials aimed at keeping the team in town. In their efforts, officials advertised a purpose-built $1.15 billion, 55,000-seat stadium for the team. The Raiders currently share Oakland-Alameda Stadium with the Oakland Athletics professional baseball team. The dual-use stadium undergoes a grueling 20-hour long conversion in order to switch between uses. The design is difficult and costly, to say the least. The plan was offered as a carrot to both teams—the Athletics will have the option to develop their own stadium in the scheme—and also came with potential plans or remaking the district around the stadium with improvements to rapid transit connections. Officials in Oakland have not announced what will come of the plan given the finalized move. For the Las Vegas stadium, the assumption is that the design and permitting process will continue to move forward and that—perhaps quickly—a site might be chosen so construction can commence. For the Raiders the arrangement is particularly awkward, as the team will not be able to physically relocate to Las Vegas until the 2020 season at the earliest.
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The new L.A. Rams stadium will be breathable beyond belief

There are a few holes in HKS's stadium design for the Los Angeles Rams. In fact, there are 20 million. By numbers HKS has gone big: The $2.66 billion, 70,000-seater-stadium will use more than 36,000 panels of which will have 20 million perforations punched into them.

Dallas-based HKS prescribed an aluminum and ETFE skin to create a triangular facade-cum-canopy over and around the playing field where the Los Angeles Rams are set to play. Triangular panels form the structure too. Made from aluminum, the metal portion of the skin responds to the variable SoCal climate without the need for a HVAC system. Additionally, an ETFE ellipse, located in the center of the roof bathes the playing field in diffuse daylight. The desired effect, HKS said, is to create the impression of being outside.

A Design Assist project with facade fabricator Zahner Metals, HKS used their research and development arm, HKS LINE (the latter acronym stands for "Laboratory for INtensive Exploration") to aid the development of the stadium's skin. James Warton, a computational designer at HKS, spoke to The Architect's Newspaper, about the process used to conceive the facade.

Warton explained that the holes inside the in the triangular panels form an image on the facade, which can be seen properly when approaching the stadium from afar. Due to fabrication logistics and schedule, "only" 20 million perforations could be made with a required minimum distance of half-an-inch between each one. To get around this, though, eight different hole sizes were used to allow perforations to fall neatly in line with the panel's edge as well as enhance the facade's pattern.

To do this, a strategy using, Grasshopper, Rhino, C++ and Visual Studio was conceived which let HKS LINE determine perforation density and mapping. "Perforation sizes corresponding to grayscale values within the source image are also mapped onto the panel," said Warton. "We had to think of a system that would enable us to see every bit of information about every tile. This information is translated into text that can be used to make the panel."

The stadium, when completed in 2019, will be the world’s most expensive. James Warton will be speaking at the next Facades+ conference in New York April 6+7. There he and other members of HKS will discuss the Los Angeles Rams stadium and its facade in further detail. Seating is limited. To register, go to facadesplus.com

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Four NFL teams swap stadiums on the West Coast

San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas National Football League (NFL) teams are playing a game of musical chairs, as a new generation of stadium-centered mega-developments attempt to lure established franchises to and from the West’s largest cities. NFL teams are notorious for holding their host cities hostage when it comes to demands over new stadium construction, and the current team swap going on across the region is no exception. Reuters reported earlier this year that when the Rams, formerly of Saint Louis, left the Gateway City for Los Angeles at the start of the 2016–2017 season, they also left behind a staggering $144 million debt resulting from the 1995 construction of the HOK Sport (now Populous)–designed Edward Jones Dome that the municipality must pay off on its own. All this for a structure used to host eight games during the normal football season. The Rams were lured back to Los Angeles in the same way they were lured away from it: with promises of a brand-new, state-of-the-art sports temple. In the most recent case, however, the altar in question will be entirely privately funded by Rams owner Stan Kroenke who is a billionaire. It will also be smack dab in the middle of the new City of Champions mega-development, a 238-acre neighborhood being built atop the site of the former Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood. Overall, the City of Champions project is due to cost $2.5 billion and will include 3,000 housing units, 620,000 square feet of commercial space, as well as a new casino and hotel. The stadium component, designed by global architecture firm HKS, features a sail-like, triangular ETFE super-roof supported by thick columns that caps the stadium and also shelters a large, outdoor “champions plaza” to be used as a communal gathering spot for spectators. The 80,000-seat stadium will be able to hold up to 100,000 fans for concerts and is being designed to accommodate two football teams. Simultaneously, Kansas City–based MANICA Architecture had proposed a competing stadium for the nearby city of Carson, California, in an attempt to lure the Rams and, potentially, the San Diego Chargers to a new stadium there. After the HKS proposal for the Rams became a reality, MANICA’s proposal resurfaced in Las Vegas as a potential new home for the Oakland Raiders, a team that itself went from Oakland to Los Angeles and then back again during the late 1980s and early 1990s over unmet stadium-upgrade demands. MANICA recycled its nearly $2 billion Carson proposal for Sin City, trading in an open-air proposal for an air-conditioned scheme featuring a retractable roof. The project was approved in November of this year after much political wrangling that included raising special taxes to fund the stadium’s construction and a $650 million cash infusion from billionaire Sheldon Adelson. While the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas has not been finalized, the team’s current bout with wanderlust began after a deal to share the recently completed, $1.2 billion HNTB-designed Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, fell through. That stadium was designed to accommodate two teams, hold between 68,500 and 70,000 spectators during sporting events, and be the first ground-up LEED Gold–certified NFL stadium in the country. In December, officials in the Bay Area announced yet another plan to try and keep the Raiders in Oakland by putting forth the plans for a new $1.25 billion, 55,000-seat football stadium to replace the existing OaklandAlameda Coliseum. The last time the Oakland Coliseum received major upgrades was back in 1995 when a $25.5 million renovation brought luxury suites to the stadium. The new plans include space for a new Oakland A’s baseball team ballpark, while also including a sizeable commercial component, and even a “Grand Central Station-like” transit connection to the regional Bay Area Rapid Transit system to connect the new sports complex with the metropolitan region. Although the Raiders are working toward moving to Las Vegas, and the Rams are settling into their new home in Los Angeles awaiting the 2019 completion of the City of Champions complex, the future of the San Diego Chargers remains in doubt, as well. A ballot initiative in support of their newly proposed stadium was a casualty of this year’s November elections, paving the way for the Chargers to potentially take up residence in Los Angeles if they can’t figure out a new approach. That ballot initiative would have raised area hotel tax rates to help fund a new stadium. Both teams have until January 15th to vet bids from their respective cities before they can begin to formally consider other offers. Either way, things don’t look great for the prospects of either team to stay in their respective cities. The Los Angeles Times recently quoted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as saying,“We have not made great progress in Oakland and San Diego. There is not a stadium proposal on the table that we think addresses the long-term issues of the clubs and the communities. So we need to continue to work at it.”
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Los Angeles Rams stadium breaks ground

The new $2.66 billion HKS-designed football stadium for the Los Angeles Rams broke ground in Inglewood, California late last week, bringing the newly-relocated National Football League (NFL) team one step closer toward completing the team’s transition from Saint Louis to Los Angeles. The stadium, designed by New York–based HKS, features a giant triangular roof supported by thick columns and made of ETFE. This super-roof also spans across an adjacent outdoor lobby called “champions plaza” to be used as a communal gathering spot for game day spectators. Los Angeles–based Mia Lehrer + Associates is acting as landscape architect for the project. The stadium has been designed to accommodate two professional teams and to seat 80,000 spectators for these types of sporting events, with the San Diego Chargers potentially lining up to use the stadium as their new home. The recent election dashed that team’s bid to fund a new stadium in San Diego proper, opening up the potential for the Inglewood stadium to host that team as well as the Rams. HKS has designed to the multi-use stadium to accommodate up to 100,000 spectators for concerts that utilize the playing field for floor seating and the stadium is also being considered as part of the city’s 2024 Olympic bid. The stadium will be located at the heart of the new City of Champions district, a purpose-built mixed-use, entertainment, and leisure neighborhood being constructed on the site of the recently-demolished Hollywood Park fairgrounds. The City of Champions development has been under construction for several months and with construction of the stadium component of the development (a late-in-the-game addition to the neighborhood) now underway, plans are quickly coalescing around making the new neighborhood a focal point for the region. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has publicly endorsed the idea of extending existing light rail system to the stadium and plans are currently being developed to provide such access. The stadium is due to be completed in time for the 2019-2020 NFL season.  
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Inside the just-launched plan to save the Astrodome

The disused-but-beloved Houston Astrodome may have finally found its savior.

In early October, the commissioners of Harris County approved a $105 million proposal to reconfigure the aging Astrodome for events and concerts. Plans call for the floor of the vacant stadium to be raised so approximately 1,400 parking spaces can be built underneath.

Designed by two firms—Hermon Lloyd & W. B. Morgan, and Wilson, Morris, Crain & Anderson—in the mid-1960s, the 18-story Astrodome was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. When it opened, it was the U.S.’s first enclosed and air-conditioned multipurpose stadium and boasted the largest clear span dome ever built. Before it shuttered in 2000, the Astrodome served as home field for the Houston Astros, the Houston Oilers, and the University of Houston Cougars. It reopened briefly in 2005 to accommodate New Orleans residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Legacy aside, the Astrodome’s age and size present distinct financial challenges to adaptive reuse. Maintenance costs run to $170,000 annually, but tearing down the structure would cost $30 million. The just-approved proposal is all taxpayer funded:property taxes, hotel tax, and parking revenue will each contribute to a third of the cost, while 10 percent of the funds will go toward finding an architect and engineer to design the renovation. Once (if) the plan is complete, revenue from parking will be plowed back into the venue to make the project financially viable.

If the architect and engineer’s design ends up costing more than $105 million, however, the county will not cover the shortfall—local government will employ other, to-be-determined financing methods. Taxpayers defeated a measure to resurrect the stadium in 2013 over cost concerns, so it’s too soon to tell if this latest plan will bring the Astrodome back.

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$1.9 billion Las Vegas Raiders stadium clears penultimate hurdle as public funding deal is approved

The odds for the Oakland Raiders football team’s relocation to Las Vegas are looking very good right about now. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed a bill into law this week that would set aside $1.15 billion in public funds to build two new mega-projects in Las Vegas: a new Manica Architecturedesigned Las Vegas Raiders stadium and a large-scale upgrade to the Las Vegas Convention Center. In the deal, the stadium would get $750 million in funding with the remainder going toward the convention center project. Nevada lawmakers narrowly approved the bill in a special legislative session last week, capping off several months of deal-making and buzz for the nearly $2 billion project. Of the remaining sum, local billionaire Sheldon Adelson intends to contribute $650 million in funding, with the team putting roughly $500 million toward the project. Manica Architecture’s proposal for the 65,000-seat stadium has been mostly repurposed from the team’s failed bid to relocate to Los Angeles and features a large, retractable roof canopy. The arena would be located on one of two sites, both adjacent to Interstate-15 and the Mandalay Bay casino towers. One of the proposed sites is located on top of what is currently a portion of the Bali Hai Golf Club. The deal marks the largest amount ever in terms of sheer dollars that a municipality has provided to subsidize the building of a National Football League (NFL) franchise stadium. Construction Dive reports that several concessions were made in order to have the legislature approve the deal, including increasing the amount of access the University of Nevada, Las Vegas would have to the stadium and providing a different rental rate to the university for access to the facilities. In a boastful ceremony marking the signing of the bill, the Sandoval cited inter-city competition as a driver for the funding plan, stating, “Cities such as New York and Chicago and Seattle, they have not only stadiums and major sports franchises, but are also investing over a billion dollars per year in their respective convention centers.” Sandoval’s approval marks the penultimate step in the Raiders’ bid to build a new stadium for the franchise. In order for the move to become officially-sanctioned, two-thirds of current NFL franchise owners would have to agree to allow the team to relocate in an upcoming meeting scheduled for January 2017.
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Cost overruns and legal battles result in chilly reception for new Vikings stadium

Death Star. The Bird Killer. Jawa Sandcrawler. The Spank. Skulldome. The Dark Crystal. Black Bullfrog. Banks a Billion.

Since the design for the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis was unveiled in May 2013, the black zinc, glass, and ETFE-paneled angular structure by HKS Architects has inspired a plethora of derogatory nicknames. Fueling the disparagement has been the sports team itself, which has been engaged since groundbreaking occurred on the 75,000-seat, 1.75-million-square-foot facility, in one public-relations fiasco after another on a level befitting a parody in The Onion.

In May 2012, the Minnesota state legislature signed a bill calling for a $975 million multipurpose stadium to be built for the Minnesota Vikings football team on the former site of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on the east side of downtown Minneapolis. Across the state, citizens groaned: another taxpayer-funded stadium built for millionaires. To date, the cost to state and local taxpayers is close to $498 million, with the total cost of the stadium slated at $1.1 billion.

In 2013, after the design was unveiled, Audubon Minnesota called the structure a “death trap” for birds due to its 200,000 square feet of transparent glass. Local bird enthusiast Howard Miller painted a grim picture in the local newspaper, the Star Tribune. Miller “raised the specter of dead indigo buntings and ruby-throated hummingbirds ‘thwacking’ against the glass, falling to the ground and lying lifeless on the sidewalk as purple-clad masses arrived for the games.” The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, involved in building the stadium, declined to replace the glass with a less-deadly fritted version due to costs and delays.

Meanwhile, the stadium’s construction began spurring development in an urban area that had been largely occupied by surface parking lots. Renamed Downtown East or East Town, the area filled with cranes and workers constructing apartment and condo buildings, a park, and Wells Fargo office towers. Proponents of the stadium talked up how the project was contributing a much-needed economic boost to Minneapolis in jobs via new construction, new and existing restaurants and bars, new hotels, and new retail.

Then the “photo bomb” incident occurred: The Minnesota Vikings organization sued Wells Fargo over two signs on its new office towers “that permanently ‘photo bomb’ the images of the iconic U.S. Bank Stadium,” the lawsuit stated. In January of this year, a U.S. district judge allowed the Vikings to proceed with the lawsuit. Then the Vikings applied to have Chicago Avenue, which runs for three blocks in front of the stadium, renamed “Vikings Way” due to the team’s aversion to a street address that evokes a division rival. Minneapolis City Hall would not budge on the street name, and the Vikings eventually withdrew the application.

There was also the dispute over $16 million in cost overruns that had to be settled with Mortenson Construction (and there’s yet to be a final tally) and a leak in the snow gutters at the top of the building requiring nearly $4 million in repairs. Lastly, the Vikings announced a “distinct monument”: A Viking ship–themed sculpture with an LED screen for a sail on the plaza outside the stadium (by RipBang Studios, a California-based division of the Minneapolis design firm Nelson), as well as The Horn sculpture (by the Minneapolis-based Alliiance) inside—both drew criticism from the local arts community.

What’s done is done. In August, the Vikings kick off the first game in the new stadium. The structure is more than twice as big as the Metrodome. The first row of seats is a mere 41 feet away from the sideline, and the field seats get fans even closer at 25 feet. The wi-fi network is capable of accommodating upward of 30,000 fans as well as vendors and staff. While fully enclosed, the stadium’s vast expanses of roof, wall, and clerestory glass provide a feeling of openness.

Whether viewed on foot, car, or from a seat on the Blue Line of the light-rail train, it’s easy to see how the building meshes with surrounding streets amid the fast-changing, rebranded Downtown East neighborhood. To what extent the stadium is a game changer for the City of Minneapolis, and the economic and cultural life of the area, however, remains to be seen.

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Bjarke Ingels Group’s design for Washington Redskins Stadium features large moat

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has released its design for a new stadium for the NFL’s Washington Redskins. The scheme offers a curvaceous, open-air seating bowl enveloped in a mesh-like skin—and surrounded by a moat.

A model of the stadium depicts it as a semi-transparent, wave-like structure that will also act as a performance venue for approximately 100,000 people. The general area will also become a recreational haven with parks and pedestrian bridges for tailgating fans.

“The one thing that everybody is…excited about is that the stadium is designed as much for the tailgating, as for the game itself,” Ingels said in a recent interview with 60 Minutes on CBS. “Tailgating literally becomes a picnic in a park. It can actually make the stadium a more lively destination throughout the year without ruining the turf for the football game,” he added.

The arena is designed to be used year-round. Images show people abseiling down from the arena and surfing on the moat. Meanwhile, during the winter, the moat doubles as a place for ice-skating and, as the renders imply, ice hockey too.

However, despite designs jumping from one recreation to the next, the exact location of the new stadium is currently unknown. That said, the Danish firm is considering sites in Prince George’s County, Maryland; Loudoun County, Virginia; and the District of Columbia. The team now plays at FedEx Field in Greater Landover, Maryland, but is headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia.