Light Wing

Soaring, light and three-dimensional is how judges described an entrance canopy at Viking Lakes mixed-use development in Eagan, Minn. They recognized it with the 2019 Metal Construction News’ Building and Roofing Award for the New Metal Roofs category.

Hidden structure, tapered fascias, other elements make canopy look light

By Christopher Brinckerhoff

Photo: Phalanx Studios

In particular, from a distance, the sharp, angular canopy looks wing-like and is somewhat of a letter V shape. A single slope peaks at the vertex of the V 34 feet off the ground. It is also perched on steel tube columns, which angle together in pairs to maximize foot traffic space underneath and emphasize a lightweight feeling. Moving closer, the canopy’s underside reveals a striking pattern of white and medium gray triangles.

Doug Osborn, senior associate at Crawford Architects LLC in Kansas City, Mo., which designed the 120-foot-wide by 90-foot-long canopy, says, “We wanted it to feel as light as possible just because of the shear size of the canopy. It’s very large and it covers a huge area because it needed to provide shelter to those that are ticketing for an event, and security to and from the stadium.”

That outdoor football stadium, called TCO Stadium, and the canopy, are part of Viking Lakes, a 240-acre mixed-use development with multiple buildings. Crawford Architects designed multiple buildings for the development and completed a master plan for it. For more than five years, the firm has been working on Viking Lakes, which is also where the headquarters building for the Minneapolis-based Minnesota Vikings is located.

Photo: Phalanx Studios

Hidden Structure

In terms of making the canopy look light, Crawford Architects minimized the amount of visible structure. Eight structural steel tube columns, each 1 foot, 6 inches in diameter, support the canopy. Four pairs of two columns angle from the soffit to ground level in roughly V shapes, and continue below grade. “One of the main reasons that you see the columns angle out is that we had certain span criteria for the main support structure concealed within the canopy itself,” Osborn says. “So they angle out to hit the points of the bracing that were required from a structural standpoint.”

Besides the columns, the other structural components are hidden. Inside the canopy, there is a series of interconnected wide flange steel members and some hollow section steel. Osborn says, “When you look at it, it almost looks like the columns just disappear up into the canopy, almost like something’s missing, like there should be more structure than there is. That plays into giving it that lightweight appearance.”

To build the columns and the rest of the canopy structure, La Crosse, Wis.-based Ted Mannstedt & Sons Inc. fabricated and supplied, and Shakopee, Minn.-based Danny’s Construction Co. installed, structural steel.

Photo: Steve Bergerson, Bergerson Photography

Dark and Light

Another way Crawford Architects made the canopy appear light was by contrasting the light-colored underside with dark roof edges. “The fascia and the roof panels are very dark, almost black. With the dark edges and roof panels, it starts to give the appearance of a thinner canopy or soffit floating underneath.”

At night, the light/dark contrast is underscored by colored LEDs directed at the underside of the canopy, often purple for the Minnesota Vikings’ branding, Osborn says. “One reason for keeping the underside more towards the lighter white and light gray tones was to allow that purple light to reflect off the panels more than it would if it was a darker tone like the fascia and the topside of the roof. We were trying to make it look thinner.”

For the roof, MG McGrath Inc., fabricator and installer for the project, installed 4,000 square feet of Moon Township, Pa.-based CENTRIA’s SRS3 standing seam roof system in Rich Black.

Sharp Edges

The smooth, angular form of the canopy makes it look light. The underside is one flat, expansive surface, and the fascias taper to points. Factory-formed fascia panels were essential to producing straight and sharp looking roof edges, Osborn says. “Where the black fascia piece wraps underneath to meet the soffit panels, part of that black edge wraps under consistently, about a 6-inch width profile that follows the entire perimeter of the soffit, and creates a band. It gives us a real clean edge there as it folds up into the fascia.”

For the fascia, MG McGrath fabricated and installed Eastman, Ga.-based Arconic Architectural Products LLC’s 4-mm-thick Reynobond FR core metal composite material (MCM) with a Colorweld 500 Deep Black paint finish.

Glacial Pattern

Crawford Architects’ canopy design was inspired, in part, by Scandinavian geography including mountains, glaciers and the like, a reference to the branding of the Minnesota Vikings. On its underside, a pattern of alternating white and gray triangular panels is revealed to visitors as they approach. The geometric pattern almost looks 3-D, Osborn says. “The canopy’s soffit is flat in profile, but just by changing the tone of the panels slightly from a white to a lighter gray, you start to give that appearance of edges catching shadow. It gives it the appearance of more depth than if it were to be just one panel color across the entire surface.”

Similarly, triangular patterns are repeated on other buildings at Viking Lakes including TCO Performance Center, which houses an indoor practice field. “First and foremost, we wanted the canopy to feel like [the canopy is] part of the campus that we were designing,” Osborn says. “We didn’t want it to feel foreign to everything else around it.”

For the canopy soffit, MG McGrath fabricated and installed 3,300 square feet of 4-mm-thick Reynobond FR core MCM in two colors: Colorweld 500 Pure White and Cadet Gray paint finishes. Every triangular panel is a different size. To build the structural triangulation required for the soffit panel supports on the canopy, MG McGrath installed aluminum extrusions with custom fabricated hubs.
PPG Industries Inc., Pittsburgh, supplied its

Duranar/AAP CW500 Cadet Gray and Pure White coatings for the project.