CHALLENGE. In September 2009, Golden Gopher fans were able to watch a football game on the University of Minnesota campus for the first time in nearly 30 years. Creating a gathering place where history and tradition could grow was the ultimate opportunity for Populous to showcase its expertise in collegiate sports design.
INNOVATION. The new stadium for the Gophers was just the sixth on-campus football stadium with more than 50,000 seats to be built in the past 50 years, and was also one of the largest facility projects in all of collegiate sports. Populous was afforded the opportunity to design a stadium that not only brought the football team home, but also created a revenue-generating facility for the University of Minnesota by providing the team with a game day facility that was size-appropriate.
TCF Bank Stadium’s exterior design draws from the historical significance of Memorial Stadium – the Golden Gophers’ on-campus home from 1924 to 1981 – both in form and material. TCF Bank Stadium’s brick façade perimeter wall with arched portals reflects the heritage of ‘The Brick House’ exterior, and a 360-degree colonnade provides a year-round walkway around the stadium. Inside the colonnade, special panels represent each Minnesota county and every Minnesotan’s contributions to the project.
Likewise, the space offers educational opportunities to showcase the University and its athletics history, adding to the excitement of a new era of Golden Gopher football. The horseshoe-shaped bowl’s opening is oriented to the west, capturing incredible views of the University campus and of downtown Minneapolis while letting fans embrace both their school and their city.
IMPACT. TCF Bank Stadium not only brought college football back to the University of Minnesota campus, but it also provided the University’s marching band with a 20,000-square-foot, first-rate facility of its own. Game day tailgating has also found its way back to campus, which makes for a spectacular game day atmosphere. The facility is also multi-purpose, as it can host concerts and sporting events in addition to football.
The stadium architecture honors a storied history, while at the same time creates a modern collegiate football experience that sets the stage for a new generation of traditions.