Whether you’re a football fan or not, you’re probably aware that in a few weeks (as I write this), Minneapolis will be hosting Super Bowl LII, about four miles from my house
(the newscasters don’t always mention that part). Last Sunday, the Vikings pulled off a stunning last-minute victory over New Orleans, sending a bunch of normally staid Minnesotans outside to frolic barefoot in three inches of freshly fallen snow and scream: “The curse is broken!”
Yes, well. Perhaps. There are two more games before statewide ecstasy or statewide agony ensues … and there are also people like Cullen Ryan (from Wisconsin, as I understand it; enough said), who created a Facebook event called “Dress up like a bird and run into the glass at U.S. Bank Stadium.” It’s a joke, as he admitted in an interview printed in yesterday’s StarTribune, but he also says that it’s too bad birds are flying into the stadium and being killed. And so what if people show up at the Super Bowl dressed like birds? Could be fun.
Yes, well. Perhaps. This might be one of those Boomers versus Millennials moments now punctuating society in awkward places. But it’s true that Minneapolis’ shiny new stadium is the top bird killer in the Twin Cities, as the local chapter of the Audubon Society pointed out two years ago. The Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (MSFA) wouldn’t build with a more bird-friendly (and more expensive) material, but there is still a push for retrofitting, perhaps with the application of some special films, perhaps supplied by the 3M Co. just across the river.
The Wurth Office Building, on the shore of Lake Constance in central Switzerland, solved a similar problem by using Architecture VISION from Sefar AG, a laminated assembly of glass and metalized fabric. But that material was built in at the beginning, not as a later addition.
Building cladding systems and flexible facades have been slow to catch on in the U.S., according to sources in “Peeling back the facade” (page 34 in this issue), but the need for energy efficiency, exterior attractiveness and interior comfort is starting to drive growth in these markets. Bird protection may not be on the top of the list, but building with materials that are inherently versatile (like those used in Alan Bair’s yurts in this month’s Perspective article) is one way to build multiple advantages into a structure.
And it’s a way to meet a co-worker’s challenge to work the Super Bowl into
my editorial. There’s always a fabric angle. Always.
If people do show up at the stadium dressed as birds, they may have to bring ladders and magic markers in order to make a lasting impression on the MSFA. But at least the topic has been raised. In the meantime, since you probably won’t be reading this editorial until AFTER the Super Bowl, it’s probably safe for me to offer to put you up at my house if you’ll be in town for the game. Right?
Four miles from the stadium.