SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles set to host Superbowl LVI

SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles

Architecture studio HKS has designed SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, which is set to host this year’s Super Bowl, as the home of American football teams the LA Chargers and LA Rams.

Built in the Inglewood area of Los Angeles, the stadium will host LA Rams when they play Cincinnati Bengals in Superbowl LVI on Sunday 13 February.

SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles
The recently opened SoFi Stadium will host Superbowl LVI

Completed in 2020 at a cost of $5.5 billion, the 70,000-capacity venue – which will be expanded to seat 100,000 for the Superbowl – is the most expensive stadium ever built.

It was designed by HKS for LA Rams-owner Stan Kroenke’s development company Kroenke Sports & Entertainment to be an “entertainment destination”.

Stadium roof
It is topped with a large curved roof

“Mr Kroenke asked us to do two things: create an entertainment destination in the entertainment capital of the world, and architecture that embodied the spirit of southern California,” said Lance Evans, director of sports at HKS.

“Our design team took that to heart; it led every decision on this building,” he told Dezeen.

Transparent roof
The roof covers the stadium, music venue and plaza

The stadium, along with a neighbouring 6,000-seat music venue and connecting plaza, was covered by a large roof that has the form of a “coastal wave”.

“It’s not just a stadium,” explained Evans. “In fact, the 6,000-seat YouTube Theater and 2.5-acre American Airlines Plaza are also under that one massive, swooping roof, which also protects the NFL’s largest stadium.”

Structure of SoFi Stadium roof
It is structurally separate from the stadium

Described by the studio as the NFL’s “first indoor-outdoor stadium”, the transparent roof was designed to give the venue the feel of an outdoor stadium, while being protected from the weather.

Supported on a series of columns, the roof is structurally separate from the seating bowl and made from a single layer of ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) covered with a film to protect players and spectators from the sun.

Transparent roof
The roof was designed to give the stadium the feel of an outdoor venue but benefits of an indoor one

“The roof never touches the stadium walls,” explained Evans.”It’s completely free-standing, hovering above and around the massive venue.”

“The roof is open on three sides, which allows for a fantastic ocean breeze to flow through the seating bowl.”

Seating at LA stadium
The sunken seating bowl’s capacity can be expanded to 100,000

The seating bowl itself was sunk into the ground by around 27 metres to reduce the building’s height, due to the proximity of the LAX airport.

A large double-side screen is suspended from the roof to show replays and scores.

“The ETFE roof amplifies sound in the stadium; it’s electric when the fans are cheering,” said Evans.

“The dual-sided videoboard technology is another key. As you enter it’s at eye level. Everyone in the stadium can see and engage with the technology; there’s no bad seat in the house.”

Giant screen at SoFi Stadium
A screen was hung from the roof

The stadium complex was built as the first stage of a 300-acre entertainment district called Hollywood Park, which will contain a hotel, shops and 3,000 homes.

It is set in a series of gardens, plazas and lakes designed by San Francisco-based Studio-MLA.

Lake alongside stadium
Landscaping around the venue was designed by Studio-MLA

Overall, Evans hopes that the venue will set a new standard for stadium design and change fans’ perceptions of watching sports live.

“We hope that when fans walk in for the first time, they have a sense of wonder and excitement,” said Evans.

“We want to change what fans think about an NFL stadium. We wanted to immerse fans in the overall game-day experience – to hear, see and feel the energy, from the lower bowl to the highest seats in the stadium.”

SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles
The stadium was designed to improve fan experiences of live sport

SoFi Stadium is the latest stadium featured on Dezeen to host a Superbowl, which is the culmination of the National Football League (NFL) season.

In 2020 the Superbowl was hosted by the Hard Rock stadium in Miami Gardens, while the 2019 match took place in the HOK-designed Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The photography is by Nic Lexhoux.

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