Will the new Vikings stadium take a cue from the Beijing Olympics?

The Graduate (Embassy Pictures)

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority has put a draft 389-page Environmental Impact Statement for a new Vikings stadium up on its website, and it’s got some intriguing new details about what’s to come.

To paraphrase the oft-quoted scene from The Graduate:

We just want to say one word to you. Just one word. Are you listening? ETFE.

Technically, the name is ethylene tetrafluoroethylene. It’s an architectural polymer that’s mentioned in the EIS, and made famous as the translucent exterior of the Beijing National Aquatics Center, among other places. There’s a whole bunch of pictures of other architectural uses over at the website of Vector Foiltec, which makes the Texlon version of the material.

 Three landmark buildings that use ETFE

Here’s what the draft EIS actually has to say about the material and its use in the new Vikings stadium. The document leaves open some of the most intriguing questions, like whether there will be an open wall or a retractable roof on the new stadium. But there are other details:

“Draft design plans reveal that the new stadium would be a bold, iconic, geometric structure with long, sloping, angular facets that are primarily directed toward the downtown Minneapolis skyline. Each of the building facades is a dynamic blend of metal panels, and transparent or translucent curtain wall, or ETFE (ethlylene tetraflouroethylene) membranes.

The draft design plans show the new Stadium facades are a combination of metal panels, aluminum curtain wall systems and Kasota limestone. The west elevation, also the proposed main entrance, features a video board behind perforated metal panels. Both the east and west elevations include three options for large sections of aluminum curtain wall: fixed, pivoting panels and sliding panels.

The draft fixed roof design option uses stainless steel metal panels and integrates snow management gutters and a sub roof with a snow management basin. On the more vertically oriented faces of the roof, a clear or fritted ETFE membrane system is proposed and would allow natural light into the stadium. The draft operable-roof design option uses the same materials as the fixed roof option, but has one large or two smaller panels that create an opening in the roof.”

“Fritted,” by the way, apparently means patterned or printed in some way, when it comes to architectural membranes.

ETFE shows up in another recent stadium design.  On the same day in September that HKS Architects was chosen to design the Minneapolis stadium, officials in Tampa Bay were unveiling a design of a proposed Rays stadium by HKS — and featuring the possible use of ETFE for the roof and back wall.

  • Ted Reiff

    Will it be able to hold up 28 inches of snow?

  • Ted Reiff

    Will it be able to hold up 28 inches of snow?

  • Pingback: 4 more things to know about the new Vikings stadium | Stadium Watch()

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  • JQP

    slamming changes to taxes though fast is never a good idea.

    the law of unintended consequences generates massively larger impacts at higher velocities.

    Simple math … stupid a 100 MPH hurts a lot more than stupid at 10 MPH

  • Ralphy

    This seems like a good opportunity for some trading between the opposite sides of the aisle. Some tax cuts as a trade-off for some spending. Cut the business services and warehouse tax and pay back the schools, rethink the police, fire and nursing cuts, invest in infra-structure and save some for the next financial crisis.

  • Guest

    Who’s money is it?
    Give it back to the people who paid it in proportion to what they paid in. Not more redistribution.

  • AndyBriebart

    It’s never enough spending, right ?

    • Jeff

      Correct, there is always something to do with other people’s money.

    • JQP

      on executive compensation.

      • Jeff

        As shareholder you can limit that…go buy a share and complain in a shareholders meeting…if you’re just some random person complaining about someone else’s salary with no financial impact on yourself I’d suggest that you stop letting envy run your life.

        • JQP

          I’ve been a direct shareholder in Chevron , as an example, since 1972 and have had that discussion in letters and at shareholder meetings since 1986.
          Its not envy, as you so callously suspect, but utter disdain for a board and executive team that squander money. My investment is losing money because they overpay mismanagement.

  • Jim G

    Federal conformity is important, but we don’t want to jump right back into the crisis budgeting mode of the past decade. The Senate needs to do its due diligence, making some changes, and then let’s hash out the differences in an expedited conference committee. I see a goal date of March 31 for sending it to the Governor as totally reasonable. The expedent passage of this tax cutting bill would be a refreshing reminder that democracy can still work and show business that our democracy works for everyone with Democratic leadership.

  • Rich in Duluth


    Are people so short sighted that they can’t remember recent budget deficits? In addition, we have roads in terrible shape, 1100 structurally deficient bridges, under funded schools….

    • Jim G

      Rich, I agree the roads are in terrible shape. There are 1100 structurally deficient bridges, and underfunding of our schools is continuing. My thoughts here, are that we might have over-corrected our steering when coming out the ruts of the Great Recession. Let’s avoid an wreck in November and give Democratic House members in Purple districts an argument they can use against Republican adversaries.

      • Rich in Duluth


        I find this is so frustrating. We have underfunded government so much, both State and Federal, for so long. But the politics of Purple districts and States demands that we do the opposite of what is necessary to provide the services we need and demand for our civilization. If you get a chance, read The Price of Civilization by Jeffrey D. Sachs.

        • Jim G

          Frustrating… certainly. I’ll buy the book on my Nook today. Thanks for the referral.

  • John

    Our roads are so congested and in such poor shape that even business groups supported a gasoline tax increase a few years ago because their members were losing time and money to the congestion in the Twin Cities and repairs.

    Use the money to get our roads and bridges back in shape, it is a win-win – better for businesses, better for citizens (as consumers and those who use the roads). This is one of many areas in which we need to invest again. We’ve neglected this for too long.

  • whitedoggie44

    I don’t really care as my residence has been Florida for many years in order to escape lousy winters and democrats income confiscation. If Dayton had not been born with a money tree in his backyard, and he had to “earn” his wealth, he likely would have been a republican. See you in May!

    • Jim G

      We’re saving a strut-breaking pothole for you.

      • whitedoggie44

        Stay warm in the tundra.

        • Jim G

          Spoken like a true snow-bird.

    • Gordon near Two Harbors

      Why not stay in Florida year-round? From what I’ve seen while traveling around this country, is that the states with the lowest taxes tend to have the worst schools, the most poverty and income disparity, and the most crime. The only exceptions are those states that have oil and gas reserves to fund their public services.

  • PlanesTrains&Automobiles2014

    I would love to see my tax dollars go to fixing roads and bridges. Wasn’t it recently the Republicans who coined the phrase “More Lanes and Less Trains?” Try driving around the pot hole filled streets of Minneapolis.

    • Jack

      Agree with you 100%

    • Gordon near Two Harbors

      I’d rather see more mass transit. Building more lanes won’t fix the problems we currently have (just look at Chicago, Los Angeles, etc.). A comprehensive plan that includes tough zoning rules to limit outward sprawl, would save the taxpayers billions of dollars in construction and maintenance costs. There is no fiscal sense in paying for more and more infrastructure to serve housing developments/strip malls, while destroying valuable farmland and open space at the same time.

  • PaulJ

    Parts of it. They should rebuild the rainy day fund. On the other hand, politicians do use the tax code (instead of creating long term regulations) to avoid having to work.

  • Jeff

    There is a $1.23 billion surplus, we are discussing a ~$500 million tax reduction proposed by Dayton and the House. We are not refunding ALL the money to the tax payers this is only removing taxes that don’t exist in other states…this is exactly why the Republicans resisted them at the time…now we are removing them (giving the Democrats a redo) instead of listening to the Republicans in the first place. This basic, common sense tax reduction should just happen…resisting it shows the true colors of many of these Democrats…they believe tax money is the legislature’s first and foremost and are unwilling to remove unfair, harmful and nonsensical taxes that would still result in a half billion dollar surplus. Just get this done, now.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    I’d establish a sizable reserve fund to avoid the expensive borrowing that occurs during economic downturns–just like a family should have a reserve fun for those occasions.
    The rest should go back to the taxpayers in the form of a tax cut.

  • tpk

    Return 2/3 to the taxpayers, spend the other 1/3 on roads and bridges.

  • mike

    I believe we can cut back on taxes for the middle class but spend more on roads and other transportation. Schools and the poor need help. cut back on the rates, but keep the money the state has. Lots to reserve funds. Make sure the rich pay at least the same in percentage as the middle class and poor do. Sales taxes and fees count too. not just income taxes.