Super Bowl XLVI / Lucas Oil Stadium

Courtesy of

Don’t forget to check out the building today when Super Bowl XLVI kicks off at Lucas Oil Stadium in the heart of downtown . HKS repeats as designer for two consecutive Super Bowl venues, immediately following the Super Bowl debut at HKS-designed Cowboys Stadium in Dallas in 2011. The 1.8 million-square-foot sports and entertainment venue has normal capacity of 63,000 for Indianapolis Colts Football, but will expand to approximately 70,000 for the 2012 Super Bowl. The stadium and surrounding site will be transformed to incorporate game-day fan plazas, sponsorship zones, media broadcast areas, fan interactive zones and tailgating. The economic impact to the host city is estimated at $300 million to $400 million.

Mark A. Williams, AIA, principal for HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, said, “We are proud to have created the venues selected for the world’s preeminent sporting event. While very different in their designs, Lucas Oil Stadium and last year’s host, Cowboy Stadium, both provide a setting that immeasurably enhances fan enjoyment and contributes to the success of this momentous event.”

Continue reading to learn more about the 2012 Super Bowl venue.

Courtesy of HKS

The multi-purpose stadium, home to the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, host for NCAA men’s and women’s Final Four® also has been the site of major conventions, trade shows and events since it opened for the 2008 NFL Season. As the venue prepares to host Super Bowl XLVI, it has demonstrated its ability as a venue capable of attracting worldwide attention, as well as raves from critics and fans.

Courtesy of HKS

“The open plazas, super-size end zone decks and operable walls provide flexibility for the Super Bowl,” said Bryan Trubey, AIA, principal designer, HKS Sports & Entertainment Group. “The entire venue and site were designed to host destination events of all types for Indianapolis and the world.”

Courtesy of HKS

The stadium exterior reflects Indiana’s rich sports heritage. Brick, stone and glass mimic the traditional forms of Indiana’s college stadiums. Lucas Oil Stadium’s pre-cast concrete structure is covered in reddish-brown brick that also mirrors the historic manufacturing buildings in downtown Indianapolis. With Indiana limestone at its base, the exterior creates a striking effect. Sited on an axis with Monument Circle, the stadium’s retractable roof creates a distinctive profile that immediately says “Indianapolis,” and provides a truly significant addition to the Indianapolis skyline.

An HKS Sports & Entertainment Group trademark is reinforcing brand and creating fan delight. While showcasing tradition, the stadium delivers modern technology and fan amenities that create big wins for fans, visitors and the community.

Courtesy of HKS

Distinctive features:

  • Retractable roof: The only NFL stadium roof that opens side-to-side, Lucas Oil Stadium features the largest roof panels in the NFL, weighing 5.8 million pounds. The roof travels up the steepest incline of any roof in North America. The opening is 180,000 square feet wide and 293 feet across. The highest point of the peaked gable is 296 feet above the playing surface. Two super frames beneath the stadium structure anchor the roof. When operated, 64 electric motors expend 960 horsepower or 1.4 million feet/pounds of torque – equal to the torque to operate 7,000 mid-size cars. The roof can open and close in nine minutes.
  • Operable glass window wall: Sited to showcase a spectacular view of Monument Circle and downtown Indianapolis, the 110-foot-wide by 88-foot-high operable glass doors were a first in the NFL. Located at the north end of the stadium, six 38-foot panels open in six minutes for pre- and post-game as well as during half-time performances.
  • Seating bowl: The dynamic configurations of the bowl also set Lucas Oil Stadium apart and make it one of the most adaptable sports stadiums in the country, integrating flexible seating configurations, moveable seating and added platforms for fan accommodations. There are 63,000 permanent seats located on seven levels, and the bowl is expandable to 70,000 for NCAA Final Four or approximately 70,000 for the Super Bowl.
Courtesy of HKS

Fan amenities:

  • High-Definition Video play boards: The 96-foot-wide and 35-foot-tall boards give fans a great view of the action. Linear message boards in the seating bowl provide additional fan information and entertainment.
  • Fan concourses: Four spacious 30-foot concourses flooded with natural light surround the stadium, providing entertainment and easy access for fans. Indiana sports displays and sponsored areas are featured throughout the concourses.
  • Public plazas: Four large public plazas surrounding the stadium and entrances on all four corners provide entertainment and easy access for fans.
  • Easy access and exits: There are two large exit stairs with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access at all four corners, 11 passenger elevators, 14 escalators and ADA ramp access at all levels.
  • Restroom capacity and access: There are 1,400 toilet fixtures and family bathrooms located in all four quadrants.
  • Fan amenities: Fans have 148 concession stands and 58,801 square feet of club/restaurant facilities to enjoy.
  • Improved seating: Wider seats (at least 20”) and more legroom with median seat width wider than any other NFL stadium; 33” – 35” seating row tread depths .
  • Shopping: Fans have access to a large Colts Store with entrances from the main concourse and from the street.
  • Seating: Fans can choose from a wide variety of ticket options, including general admission, club seats, mini suites or luxury suites for all events. Club seats are located at street level.

Project description provided by HKS.

Courtesy of HKS

Owner: Indiana Stadium & Convention Building Authority
Architect: HKS, Inc.
HKS Design Team: John Hutchings (Principal-in-Charge), Bryan Trubey (Design Principal), Mark Williams (Programming and Design), Jonathan Kelley (Project Manager), Chad Scheckel, (Construction Architect)
Associate Architects: A2S04, Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects
Tenants: Capital Improvement Board of Marion County, Indiana Convention Center & RCA Dome, Indianapolis Colts
Facility User: NCAA
Construction Manager: Hunt Construction Group
Structural Prime Engineer: Walter P. Moore
Structural Consulting Engineer: Fink Roberts & Petrie, Inc.
Retractable Roof & Moving Wall / Door Consultant: Uni-Systems
MEP / FP Prime Engineer: Moore Engineers
MEP / FP Consulting Engineer: Flack + Kurtz, Inc.
Interiors Consultant: Design W Group (Rowland Design)
Food / Waste / Laundry Prime Consultants: Sherman Robinson Inc.
ADA / Accessibility Consultant: The Fehribach Group
Landscape Consultant: Claire Bennett Associates, Inc./cba
Lighting Consultant: Lumenociti
Civil Consultant: DLZ
Wayfinding Consultant: Catt Lyon

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Super Bowl XLVI / Lucas Oil Stadium" 05 Feb 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • Thom

    This would be right at home in 1990. Why do midwestern cities constantly look towards the past?

  • kgm

    only in america would you find a stadium this big still being designed as a giant postmodern monster. I hope hks gets sweet kickbacks from the brick supplier at least…

  • Dan

    Thom & kgm,
    The first designs for Indy’s basketball stadium, Conseco Fieldhouse were turned down because they did not say ‘Indiana’.
    This design reflects Indiana and its context and heritage.
    East and West coast designs are not wanted.
    Why would you ignore context?
    Are we on Mars?

    • archi

      So what, then, does Indiana want to say abuot itself? (Refer Thom & kgm…)

      • kgm

        that indiana loves its lowes warehouses so much it needed a monument to them?

        since when was postmodernism a reference to midwestern context and heritage by the way? wasn’t it developed mostly by architects in the NE? Also citing contextual design in something 20 times the size of everything around it and then surrounded by a giant parking lot is totally absurd, but I understand what we as architects must say to planning boards sometimes.

  • ABC

    The ugliest stadium I have ever seen. Very bad taste.

  • george22

    i would cry my eyes out if that would get build in my city.

  • Jason

    Anyone who thinks this is contextual has no understanding of and no respect for the past.

    But even thinking about this building in those terms is wrong. This isn’t a design, it’s a product executed in a style. The same guy has designed tons of sports venues and they range from stuff like this to shiny wavy versions of stuff like this.

    The city I live in is expecting a new arena soon, and I’m trying to be optimistic.

  • Yee har

    But it’s got drag cars and giant horseshoe!!!!!

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