Vikings stadium design bidders get work showcase

Published 9:14 am Friday, September 7, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS  — The five architectural firms competing to design the new Minnesota Vikings stadium showed off their previous work Thursday as the team and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority gets close to choosing a designer for the project.

The open house at the Metrodome was sponsored by the Sports Facilities Authority, which is working with the team to build the $975 million downtown Minneapolis stadium. Renderings of proposed stadium plans will not be released at the event, but the firms will show off designs for some of their previous projects.

One bidder will be immediately familiar to Minnesota sports fans: Kansas City-based Populous, which designed the Twins’ Target Field, TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota and the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The firm also designed Camden Yards in Baltimore, among other stadiums.

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Ted Mondale, the CEO of the Sports Facilities Authority, said the group has ambitions that the new stadium will share a key feature with Target Field in how it opens onto downtown Minneapolis, affording impressive views of the surrounding skyline.

“Everybody is interested in making it a window to downtown,” Mondale said.

But unlike Target Field, the football stadium will have a roof, though previous design proposals have included massive ground-to-ceiling windows with downtown views.

The other bidders are:

— Los Angeles-based AECOM, which designed CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.

— Ewing Cole of Philadelphia, which designed MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, home to both the New York Giants and the New York Jets.

— HKS of Dallas, the designer of Cowboys Stadium in Dallas and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where the Colts play.

— HNTB, the Kansas City architects that designed the new San Francisco 49ers stadium currently under construction in Santa Clara, Calif.

Mondale said designs submitted by the firms are likely to be only a starting point, and that the final plan will incorporate features sought by both the team and the Sports Facilities Authority.

Michelle Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the authority, said the design would need to reflect not just what the Vikings want but also the multiple-use status of a stadium that will also be used for high school and college sports, and other community events.

Authority and team officials were interviewing the firms Thursday and Friday, and they plan to announce a designer soon. Construction on the new stadium, roughly at the site of the current Metrodome, is scheduled to get underway in 2013 with a hoped-for opening of 2016.