Allianz Field is the permanent soccer-specific stadium home to Minnesota United FC. The stadium serves as the focal point to a revitalized 35-acre brownfield site in St. Paul, Minnesota that includes a hotel, office, residential, commercial, and entertainment spaces.
Fans enjoy one of the most intimate settings in professional sports, with the farthest seat being just 125ft from the sideline. A full 360-degree canopy – one of the largest in the MLS – simultaneously reflects crowd noise back onto the pitch and protects 85% of the crowd from inclement weather.
The iconic feature of Allianz Field is the dynamic skin which wraps around the stadium. Early in the concept design phase, the owner and architect wanted the stadium to evoke a European feel with a completely enclosed form. The challenge was to find a skin material that could be colored and backlit, yet transparent to connect fans outside the stadium to the energy inside, while also providing full wind and rain protection. Walter P Moore worked with various material suppliers to develop a new product that could provide all those competing characteristics simultaneously. As a result, Allianz Field will be the first large-scale installation of clear laminated and colored PTFE (Teflon®-coated woven fiberglass membrane) in North America.
Designers also wanted the architectural form of the skin to be a series of undulating curves circling the stadium. These curves are large diameter hollow structural steel (HSS) pipes, coined “driver pipes”, which drive the geometry of the skin form and support the PTFE skin. To integrate geometric control and PTFE fabric analysis, Walter P Moore created a digital workflow in collaboration with the architect. This enabled Walter P Moore to rapidly analyze the PTFE skin, adjust the driver pipe spacing so the PTFE wasn't overstressed, and then for the architect to take the new geometry and adjust it as desired for architectural form, which Walter P Moore could then re-analyze. Ultimately, the digitally controlled geometry model of the driver pipes was delivered to the steel fabricator to facilitate production of the HSS pipes.
Beyond the digitally controlled design of the skin, the 360-degree canopy was also designed and documented digitally. Our digital workflows allowed the structural and architectural team to rapidly explore different canopy shape profiles via a 3D viewing platform. This platform enabled the architect to more clearly see – and therefore more quickly select – the canopy structural system that best expressed the design intent.
Walter P Moore brought expertise from all across the country collaborating internally and externally with a shared goal of developing innovative solutions to bring this architectural vision to life. The iconic stadium is the first in North America to boast the Allianz brand and it will lead the way in creating a new generation of MLS stadiums where the form and materials making the stadium are as dynamic as the action inside the stadium.