The US Bank Stadium in Minnesota is home of the football team The Vikings, and also an epicenter of "excitement, opportunity, and Minnesota pride." It is a giant glass monolith that towers over the city, a mirror to the beauty surrounding it. However, what lies beneath the building upon the grounds is not very beautiful - the carcasses of dead birds, hundreds of which lose their lives due to the construction. Like a sad monologue from a bad movie in which the "bad guys" chose to cut corners in the construction of a dwelling that causes the death of its inhabitants when faulty construction causes its demise, the Stadium was constructed out of glass without the special coating that was recommended that birds can see. Due to this decision, its "sleek, futuristic" (Kate Wagner, The New Republic, page 9) design has become a graveyard for the hundreds of birds that fly into its walls each year.
Noted within Wagner's article is the data that, though these buildings seem to have a "weightless" look, the consumption of energy to run them is anything but weightless. Due to all the glass, the energy needed to run air conditioning because of the sun's rays is greater than that of other buildings, and the gases emitted from the mixing of all the concrete that is required to support all the glass is another concern.
Certainly, the building is a representation of power and wealth and provides an exciting home for the residents' football team, and a place of excitement for the fans' enjoyment during the games. However, at what price does this stadium present for the wildlife, as well as for the environment?
It is my hope that future architects will read Wagner's article and ponder these questions, and when they do, they will consider not only the beauty of the great architectural works they design but as in the past in the design of the great cathedrals, will take into account the beauty that surrounds them, and the creatures that must exist in their presence. I am not sure whom I feel the sorriest for - the poor helpless creatures whose lives are being lost as they fly into the walls, or the groundskeepers who are tasked with cleaning up their carcasses displayed all around underneath. It's rather ironic - what may seem beautiful on the outside holds a deadly presence within its structure. Funny how that is the case when wealth and power are the focus of any project.