Colorado State University Canvas Stadium

Fort Collins, Colorado, United States

  • Typologies

    Collegiate Facilities, Stadiums

  • Building Activities

    American Football, Training and Development

  • Services

    Architecture, Environmental Graphic Design, Interior Design

  • Completion


CHALLENGE. Four miles separate the old and new homes of Colorado State football, but they might as well be on opposite sides of the Rockies. Nestled along Horsetooth Mountain, the Rams former home of Hughes Stadium served up beautiful vistas for nearly 50 years. Yet something was missing.

That something was the CSU campus, full of energy, ideas and life. CSU leadership charged us with helping reinvigorate athletics’ role in the spirit of its campus. To get there, we designed a multi-purpose, on-campus stadium that blurs the line between athletics, academics and community like few have done before.

INNOVATION. Visit Canvas Stadium and you’ll notice something strange at first: it doesn’t look like a stadium at first glance. Its mid-century modern aesthetic blends in with surrounding campus architecture. Strong horizontal lines balance out vertical elements inspired by Fort Collins’ connection to the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The stadium’s highest point measures a modest 123 feet.

The result is a design that intentionally shares the spotlight. Canvas Stadium is one piece of the campus tapestry, a piece that impacts more than football. To that end, the project presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the university to add in-demand academic space cost-effectively while also changing the definition of an on-campus stadium.

  • An 80,000-square-foot Alumni and Academic Center brings students and faculty into the venue year-round.

On the northeast corner is the entrance to an 80,000-square-foot Alumni and Academic Center that spans the length of the east stands. Each school year, students stroll in from nearby dorms for classes and advising. The Alumni Center, meanwhile, serves as a place of pride for Colorado State’s 215,000 alumni as it hosts year-round meetings and events.

On the northwest corner is the entrance to the football program’s new home. Running underneath the west stands, it features elite sports medicine and training spaces like a 9,100-square-foot weight room.

IMPACT. By integrating academic spaces into the stadium project, the university added classroom capacity and saved on construction costs. More importantly, they bring the larger CSU community into contact with the stadium on a regular basis.

On the athletics side, Canvas Stadium debuted to rave reviews in its inaugural season. The Rams set an all-time attendance record with a total of 192,369 fans, a 16-percent attendance increase from the year before. That’s 192,369 new touchpoints with Colorado’s State’s growing campus – and just as many memories.

Colorado State’s new stadium is one of the prettiest in college football.

SB Nation
Facts and Figures
Seating capacity
Stadium size
644,132 square feet
Academic Center size
59,831 square feet
Leed Certification
Overall Design Winner | ALSD Spotlight
Best Projects: Mountain States | Engineering News Record
Project Team
Connect with the designers

Scott Radecic

Kevin Fast

Jeff Spear

Myron Chase

Kobi Bradley

Kyleen Miller

Ashleigh Rogers

Jay Graber

Chad Francis

Austin Welsh

James Milligan

Frank Steiner

Emily Marsh