The NCAA Final Four took place at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on April 6—and the National Championship will be decided there tonight—but it’s not just March Madness hoops action that is exciting attendees: the stadium itself is pretty cool (and sustainable, too). Designed by Loretta Fulvio of HKS, U.S. Bank Stadium has been in the spotlight since its 2016 opening, including as the site of Super Bowl LII in 2018. Its six clubs pose an attractive alternative to traditional stadium seating, offering great views and the chance to see teams leaving locker rooms and entering the field (when home team, the Minnesota Vikings, are playing). But even in the stands, visitors can feel good about making a positive impact: 91 percent of waste is recycled, composted, or donated, due to the concession stands using compostable packaging. And the entire venue is run on wind power.
“It was a common goal for all of us,” says Fulvio, speaking on the stadium's sustainability. “You can’t deliver a building in this location without it. You want to design an envelope that can take all that pressure with materials that are hard-wearing but natural, like concrete.”
One of the biggest factors of sustainability in U.S. Bank Stadium is the roof, which allows natural light to enter the vast space. Of course, natural light isn't required for the Final Four championship games, which take place in a darkened setting. In preparation, fabric was attached to roof bays to darken the stadium, curtains created walls, and custom seating was installed on the field space around the court.
“These are the events that we plan for when conceptualizing the designs and experience, so we’re psyched,” Fulvio says. “I visited Minneapolis in the weeks leading up the Final Four, and you can feel the energy in the air. It’s going to be an amazing experience. For fans, the players, and anyone visiting.”
The venue is both Minnesotan- and Nordic-inspired, referencing its hometown of Minneapolis and its home team. The exterior rises from the horizon like a jagged ice formation, and natural references continue indoors. Stone and wood complements the dominant color, Vikings purple, which is used extensively throughout.
Read more: 13 Sports-Inspired Spaces
Minnesotan hospitality was a huge factor for Fulvio, who took note of the experience when designing the six spaces: Mystic Lake's Club Purple, Delta Sky360 Club, Medtronic Club, FMP Club, Buffalo Wild Wings Club, and Hyundai Club. They feel comfortable, but are also close to the action, and however luxurious the clubs may be, they still feel like home.
“It has been an honor to work on this project because of the people,” Fulvio says, “and how proud they are. It runs in their blood. You can see it in the artwork installed. You can see the personality of the stadium through and through.”
Keep scrolling to see images of the clubs and other features of U.S. Bank Stadium >