There is no doubt that the Super Bowl is gaining more and more followers, although this year it will have a unique group of followers: architecture lovers.
I have never really agreed with the phrase: «The stage makes the artist, but destroys the singer«. Au contrarie, as the classic would say, a good stage magnifies our attributes and gives us the necessary energy to offer the best of ourselves. We can spin this with the architectural marvel that we bring you this week… What better setting for an athlete than a stadium? And if it’s the one from the Super Bowl, even more so.
The stage of the Super Bowl 2022
The Super Bowl is attracting more and more supporters to the cause. This year the teams that have played one of the most important sporting events in the world have been the Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. Both have brought out their best weapons in the best possible setting, and have attracted a type of fan that is not usually expected: architecture lovers.
The stadium where the event was held is a modern work of art, a bulwark designed and built with current, sustainable, daring, resounding and unapologetic parameters. The SoFi Stadium shines with its own light as it is the largest stadium in the NFL but, in addition, its unique composition makes it desirable to visit. If I didn’t like football, I would start to like it.
The Super Bowl stadium has 290,000 square meters
The sports complex is recent. Construction began in 2016 and was completed in 2020. It is located in the city of Inglewood and, according to its creators, it is the first indoor and outdoor stadium ever built. It has an area of almost 290,000 square meters and is located in what will be a huge sports and training park on a world scale: Hollywood Park.
The architecture studio that developed the project is called HKS Architects, one of those huge companies that do architecture. They have made its main features possible: its capacity of 70,000 seats, expandable to 100,000, including 260 luxury suites and 13,000 premium seats. In addition to its innovative design, which introduces the concept outside-inside, open-closed and, above all, its efficiency.
A total of 17,000 people worked on its construction
The stadium displays a canopy-shaped design cover that divides the horizontal and vertical planes on a large scale allowing, due to its extreme height, an open-air plaza of 10,000 square meters, the American Airlines plaza, and a space called «Youtube Theater ” with 6,000 seats.
In numbers, the construction of the stadium is overwhelming. More than 5.3 million cubic meters of earth were mobilized, 100,000 tons of steel and cable were installed, and more than 110,000 cubic meters of concrete were used, some 16,000 tankers. At the height of construction there were 3,500 workers on site every day. In total, some 17,000 people contributed directly to the construction.
The stadium is 30 meters sunk so as not to interfere with air traffic
The iconic element is covered in a material that we have seen before in these pages: EFTE, a plastic with incredible properties. Of course, the portal structure that supports the roof is executed with structural steel, which distributes the stresses through a huge compression ring, a structure that transmits the stresses radially to an outer perimeter. A crown that is a jewel, and that allows a huge digital scoreboard to slide towards the center of the stadium.
With the Efte it is possible to give clarity to the stadium, avoiding part of the heat that the sun’s rays radiate on the roof, and providing good visual quality through its translucent parts. Additionally, the canopy is open on three sides, allowing air circulation to even out extreme temperatures. Another peculiarity of the complex is that it «sinks» about 30 meters into the ground, so as not to raise the building, due to its proximity to the Los Angeles International Airport.
Its construction cost 5.5 million dollars
The media say that the cost of construction reached 5.5 billion dollars, about 4.85 billion euros, making it the most expensive stadium. If the promoter, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, a company owned by Stan Kroenke, owner of the Rams, doesn’t complain, let alone I will.
The Studio-MLA was in charge of the landscaping, including an artificial lake, the first lake to successfully mix reclaimed water with stormwater, giving the possibility of allowing the continuity of the regional ecosystem. A habitat that serves regional hawks, warblers, monarch butterflies, bees, and hundreds of species along with shrubs, ground covers, wetlands, and grasslands.
A stadium for the Super Bowl that is a construction milestone
In command of the structures was the company Walter P. Moore & Associates, which has created very important milestones, to show three: the largest and longest cable network structure in the world, the first micro-operable roof panels in the sport, and the largest mechanically stabilized earth wall built. And, a fourth, the video plate hanging on the roof of the largest state in the world. Definitely a prize.
But, in the end, no matter how complex the construction of such a unique element has been, we must decide if it has achieved its goal: to generate new satisfaction in the spectators. For now, it is a building that opens the door to the implementation of new forms of stadiums, more involved with the outside, healthier and more efficient. And yes, it is a building that is worth visiting, whether it has left or not.
*Images courtesy of HKS Architects.