Allianz Field Claims ENR Midwest Top Honor
Allianz Field Claims ENR Midwest Top Honor
ENR Midwest selected 32 Best Projects from among hundreds of entries in various categories in August 2020. Allianz Field, the new home for MLS Minnesota United FC, was chosen as the winner of the Sports/Entertainment category. From these top-level developments, one winner was chosen as the reining Project of the Year and announced at their online event December 3, 2020.
Allianz Field, the 2020 Project of the Year winner, demonstrates the power of integrated delivery and collaboration across design and construction teams.
Walter P Moore provided integrated design services for Allianz Field serving as structural engineer of record and enclosure engineer. The integrated design team collaborated with the architect to conceive, optimize, and design the elegant structural systems that give the project its shape and expression. The innovative and integrated structural and enclosure systems were key to achieving the team owner’s ambitious vision to create a beautiful and intimate soccer-specific stadium that rivals the best international soccer venues. The stadium, which anchors a new mixed-use complex on a 35-acre brownfield site in St. Paul, opened in spring 2019.
“Allianz Field was a dream project. The iconic design of Allianz Field was only possible due to everyone across the design and construction teams pulling toward the same goal,” adds Principal and Project Manager Justin Barton.
Allianz Field’s signature feature is its innovative cladding material. The owner desired an international venue that featured a continuous and distinctive cladding wrapping the entire stadium. In addition to the aesthetic goals, the cladding needed to be weathertight to protect fans from the harsh Minnesota weather for early and late season games, but transparent to visually connect fans outside the stadium to the energy being generated within. It had to be strong enough to span up to 22ft between support pipes but flexible enough to form the undulating geometry. No existing material met these competing requirements.
To create this new material, Walter P Moore partnered with global membrane specialist Saint-Gobain. Together they developed a material that extends the capabilities of traditional open weave fiberglass membranes by laminating the fiberglass yarn weave with a clear polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). The resulting material is weathertight and as strong as traditional PTFE coated fiberglass membranes while transmitting twice the natural light. The fiberglass yarns also serve as a platform to hold color, providing a distinctive silver sheen.
At night, the solid yarns and clear PTFE are the perfect projection screen for the variable LED backlighting mounted to the driver pipes which is where Allianz Field truly shines in a myriad of colors racing around the stadium. Laminating the fiberglass yarn weave also gives the material increased tear resistance compared to traditional PTFE, allowing for a longer life-span and fewer maintenance requirements.
“Walter P Moore has made a strong commitment through research and development to work with membrane and foil manufactures to develop the next generation of smart cladding materials,” says Martin Augustyniak, a Specialty Structures Engineer. “Our goal is to provide owners and architects a more diverse product offering to expand the use of efficient lightweight enclosure systems. The cutting-edge façade of Allianz Field is the first of what we hope are many material innovations to come.”
Walter P Moore blended our knowledge with the Populous’ team to create a shared digital platform enabling a seamless transfer of information and a deeper level of collaboration. The use of a common platform and rapid iteration allowed for a near real-time loop of design-analysis-responsive design, which led to a truly iconic design.
“Walter P Moore brought an elite level of ingenuity to Allianz Field,” says Phil Kolbo, a lead designer at Populous. “They re-defined industry standard practices to solve our unique design constraints and their team integrated so seamlessly into our process that their expertise felt like a direct extension of our internal design team.”
Allianz Field exhibits the influence a consultant can have on a project by combining structural knowledge of building design, materials, and enclosure systems resulting in an iconic design comparable to the finest sporting facilities around the world. Collaborating with industry partners, Walter P Moore was able to develop a new cladding material that solved the issue of many competing interests; taking an extremely complex, sinuous shape and rationalizing it to a series of single radius elements with a high-fidelity model to minimize the risk of construction or fabrication errors. Developing a common platform for data-sharing and adjusting allowed deeper collaboration than previously possible, cementing Walter P Moore as an integral part of the architectural design process.