Dallas Cowboys Stadium / HKS


The new Cowboys Stadium, designed by the HKS Sports & Entertainment Group opened June 6 for it’s first public event. The new venue, located in Arlington, Texas, is the home of the Dallas Cowboys, one of the National Football League’s (NFL) most watched teams in the .

At over 3 million-square-foot and a capacity of up to 100,000 fans it is the largest NFL venue ever built, and maybe one of the most spectacular stadiums worldwide. You can read more key highlights after the break and more images of the stadium.

Key Design Highlights

Designed to be open or closed, depending on weather conditions, the expansive retractable roof is the largest of its kind in the world and measures approximately 660,800 square feet. When closed, the roof encompasses 104 million cubic feet of volume, making it the largest enclosed NFL stadium in the world. The retractable roof is designed specifically to emulate the current Texas Stadium opening which is recognized around the world and allow views inward and outward. Each panel can open or close in 12 minutes. From directly above, the entire playing field can be seen and the opening itself is visible from an elevation of five miles.

The stadium features two monumental arches, soaring 292 feet above the playing field, which support a retractable roof. As the longest single span roof structure in the world, each boxed arch is 35 feet deep by 17 feet wide. Weighing 3,255 tons each, the impressive structures span 1,225 feet in length. The arches form a striking silhouette on the Arlington landscape as sunlight reflects against the metallic surface during the day and a tailored lighting system reflects the form at night.

The stadium features the largest retractable end zone doors in the world. Each has a five-leaf, clear, retractable opening measuring 120 feet high by 180 feet wide. The five 38-foot panels take only 18 minutes to open or close. By using clear glass for the door panels, spectator experience panoramic views from within the seating bowl and when circulating through the stadium concourses. Moreover, the operability provides air circulation during game-day and non-game-day events.

One of the most compelling architectural features of the stadium design is the canted glass exterior wall. The 86-foot-high glass, curtain-wall surface slopes outwardly at a 14-degree angle to create a luminescent glow, day or night. A fritted glass system transitions up the elevation to create a dynamic, ever-changing aesthetic depending on the time of day. At night, a series on internal lights gently wash the glass wall to create a glow across the facade.

Within the seating bowl, Cowboys fans will be provided with a one-of-a-kind feature, a center-hung video board. Hanging approximately 90 feet above the field from the rood structure, the innovative video center spans between the 20-yard lines and features four individual boards – two facing the sidelines and two facing the end zones. The sideline boards measure 72 feet tall by 160 feet wide, while those facing the end zones measure 27 feet tall by 48 feet wide. All four boards are angled toward the stands for optimal viewing. The stunning combination of these boards will immerse spectators with video imagery, creating a premium on upper level seats and presenting the game in a way never before experienced. Streaming across the interior seating facade is a vivid 360 degree matrix board, which offer advertisers “moments in time” during the game.

A signature architectural element for the new venue is the 365 entry. The elongated arch form stretches 224 feet and is detailed with steel plating. It simulates the monumental arches while framing the Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop and box office. This entry is framed by two dramatic 30-foot-tall light walls, providing an upscale, vertical space for both game days and events during the week. Metal canopies are attached to the light walls while fountains activate the space.

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "Dallas Cowboys Stadium / HKS" 14 Oct 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=37803>
  • Milton

    And it’s across the street from a Wal-mart. God, I love this great country

  • http://map-lab.com Dan

    Great images!! Wonderful photos and drawings.
    I can’t wait to see the comments from the non – North American critics hahaha

  • CROFTdesign

    Congratulations! You have managed to design an enormous truss with a skin that already looks a decade old.

    • Dan

      …perhaps, to eyes keenly aware of whats cutting edge. Still, it beats the brick faux-traditional/historicist stadium they just built here in Indianapolis. The design presented here is still “too modern” for most clients/people I design for.

    • Pierre

      What type of skin would you have preferred?

    • lazzenbaby

      here here, finally we have reached the age where computers allow us to design outside conventional boundaries yet we keep seeing bland stadium designs that attempt to ‘wow’ us simply through the shear size of the project. its an impressive feat of engineering but where is the architecture?

    • CROFTdesign

      Dan, what’s “cutting edge?” A large truss? Further, this is not “modern;” which design books have you been reading?

      Pierre, perhaps a skin of something currently undefined; a new detail or application of materials for the sake of performance.

  • Dean

    I really like the concept of brining the landscape into the building is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. However, one thing that has become the hallmark of modern stadia is their elegance of form and arguably their beauty.(E.g.Olympic Stadium Greece, Bird’s Nest China).

    Unfortunatly big isnt always beautiful.

  • Design Widow

    Photos and renderings don’t do it justice. It’s very elegant and grand especially for a stadium seating 100,000. MUCH nicer than the mess of a “bird’s nest”. I expect it to glow neon blue on the underside and break gravity any moment.

    • Claudia

      Agreed Design Widow. All it takes is a project that actually works and the masses seem to like for architects to kick and scream…go figure

      • Dean

        Don’t get me wrong. It’s amazing. This building will certainly do do the job it was designed to do for a very long time to come. 100,000 seats is is nothing to sniff at.
        It just seems as though there could have been a little more ‘delight’ in the execution of the form.

    • e

      The building is terrible. Absolutely terrible. Zero effort in design. Just some giant skinned trusses and a Kawneer curtainwall. Congrats Dallas. More bad architecture for an already hideous city.

  • shik

    plans ?????????????

  • http://vitsee.wordpress.com vitsee

    bit of a shed really.

  • Matthew

    Well, I’d rather say this is a bit of a shed, vitsee:

    that said, I’m not a big fan of stadia

  • INawe

    Its an expensive and boring building. Engineering feat maybe. Architectural masterpiece? Not even worth a yawn.

    Btw, 100k capacity is no big deal. There already exists college stadiums in the US that hold just as many. Just because there is a roof over is that supposed to make it so special architecturally?

    Btw, how is that $40+ million tv screen that is hanging too low working for you?

    • sullka

      There are special “Field Rules” when playing there, punters can easily hit the screen.

      It’s too damn low, and there’s space to put it a tad higher, but just moving it a few feet would cost millions.

  • Michael

    If there weren’t so many fat caucasians in the photos I’d think it was in Malaysia.
    Truly vile.

  • boob

    please elaborate when you say something is a bad design, otherwise you’re just another douchebag

  • norm

    It’s a 100.000 capacity, fully enclosed stadium, which is very impressive in terms of engineering. Architecturally, there are some interesting attempts like bringing landscape into the massive stadium (the Berlin Olympic stadium does this best) via giant sliding panels. It’s good to see that Americans are making an effort now to introduce modern architecture into their stadia. In the past all football stadiums were giant engineering features and nothing more and baseball stadiums always had a depressing pomo facade. All said, to me, all architecture falls apart when you look at the image and see how the massive truss meets the building. There isn’t an architectural idea that governs the whole. They had to solve the problem of providing an enclosed stadium for a large amount of spectators, so everything else followed this problem, but the problem itself is a problem of engineering and not necessarily an architectural problem.

  • @

    Don’t you all get it? It’s supposed to look like a giant football. Robert Venturi must love it. Its vintage Americana, big, shiny, and is a “duck.” Some of the spaces are interesting, but its setting does it a disservice. If it were in downtown Dallas the ability to open up would make the project much more interesting because it would speak to connecting with the city, and the public. Also, the points at which the trusses hit the ground are really ugly. I understand the structural necessity of a pin connection there, but they end really abruptly for no good reason.

  • Squidly

    this is completely lacking in grace or elegance, much less the basic fundamentals of architectural detailing (hideous interaction of arch and volume). It seems the rest of the world can produce interesting stadia, but not the US. The clients here must be too brutish and unrefined. Very Dallas, the nastiest city I ever had the misfortune to visit.

  • threads

    the real contribution is the standing room only seating for an American football stadium. I was under the impression that the stadium only holds about 80,000 seats with everyone else milling around. Doing what? Shopping and drinking and watching football on a huge TV screen. It totally opens up the idea of a social space. It does resemble a mall…but interesting and exciting.

  • Stephen

    I think anyone who thinks this is “boring”, “lacking in grace”, or “not worth a yawn”, should remember that what you see here is probably at the extreme modern end of what the majority of clients or fans would like. As designers, our own threshold for novelty is far outside the mainstream. We should recall that nearly everything presented here or in architecture magazines would appear as strikingly new and different to most people.

  • threads

    well I’m not sure Dallas is unfamiliar to outside the mainstream design. we can’t forget to include OMA/REX.


    I think it’s really an issue of an overall lack of something BIG.

  • st289

    After reading all the comments I can honestly say that this stadium hits the mark. The stadium is designed to be symbol of the Dallas Cowboys “America’s Team”. People across this country either love or hate the Cowboys but everyone loves watching them either to fail or to succeed. Just look at the amount of attention the stadium is getting (even on this blog)….and some of you think that it missed the mark….I would argue that the new stadium has given Jerry Jones everything that he and the city of Arlington could have Dreamed. While I can not argue that the stadium would have been nicer if placed in downtown Dallas. The suburban setting, for this team, is perfect for the correlation with America’s team and America’s fascination with suburbia and sprawl. I say well done.

    • http://www.unrelatedtopics.com sebastijan

      and all of these are reasons why it should have never been built! i think the ‘mark’ should be reconsidered to have some more profound social responsibility rather than succumbing to american consumerist greed and sprawl mentality…

    • Squidly

      What do any of your comments have to do with good architecture? People are critical because in that regard it fails. Of course the client is “happy”. Who cares? How much does it really take to make the “city” of Arlington happy? I’m sure they’re happy with the Walmart down the street too; they both “do their job”.

      • ST

        There are objective requirements of good architecture: standing up, keeping water out, adhering to the budget, efficiency of circulation, etc.

        Discussions of aesthetics are inherently subjective. What
        you think is good in this regard, someone else may regard as
        bad, and vice versa.

  • asdf

    so many silly comments… first, why are we separating the notion of engineering vs. architecture? the two are inextricably linked, especially for a project such as this.

    second, some commentors seem very confused about our role as architects. they seem to think that it is our job to push clients forward toward some supposedly better “modern” design. this confuses me because “modern” typically refers to a now very old and partly defunct mode of art and architecture. let’s use the word contemporary instead. even so, our job is not to push some supposedly contemporary forms or materials onto unwilling clients. our job is to help them visualize and then realize a very, very hazy dream that everyone will then enjoy sharing. if you think your clients do not like contemporary design, then you’ve probably tried to force something YOU want to do on them rather than responding in a contemporary way to what THEY want to do. there are no prerequisites in terms of form or material for something to be considered contemporary, so to defend a project because it uses “modern” materials and forms is, I think, completely illogical and a bit naive.

    I don’t mind that this project is a simple study of form. After all, it’s a stadium. I do mind that it is heavy-handed. I also wish there was some evidence of investigation other than the napkin sketches… which ignore so much and probably point toward most, if not all of the failures of the project, especially at the level of materiality.

    • Pierre

      It’s nice to read someone who actually has an opinion on here.
      I’m tired of reading people complaining all the time: that’s not what critiquing is about.

      Thank you asdf.

      So, just for the purpose of discussion…

      You say “our job is to help them visualize and then realize a very, very hazy dream that everyone will then enjoy sharing”.

      On some level, I couldn’t agree with you more.

      But don’t you think it is our responsibility to “educate” our clients on a subject to which they are “ignorant” (and i use this word very lightly)? After all, they do hire of for our expertise…

      In the same way I wouldn’t tell a lawyer how to do his job if I needed his services. I believe it is our responsibility to guide our clients towards a result that is best for everyone and not just the realisation of one individual perspective.

  • z99

    It fits very well with common American aesthetics (I can see this fitting well next to a GMC SUV). If that’s what the Arlington people like, fine, let them have it, it’s their city and we should respect their opinions. However, what is lost here is the stroke of imagination or an attempt to introduce something new. Just from studying their culture (their willingness to adopt a “Wal-Mart lifestyle”), they love big things. It would have been far more interesting if this stadium didn’t invoke that attitude, rather, communicated a form of humility and grace and became an example of sustainability (not that fake stuff that’s marketed everywhere). Like film and books, architecture is capable of changing attitudes. Sadly, with the attention that this stadium will be getting, the designers have missed an opportunity…

    • Hampton

      …So, like, a SMALL stadium that holds 100,000 fans?

      By the way, I’d say it is very new given the very traditional looking stadium designgs going up in many American cities.

  • Walter

    I agree with the comments that aesthetics is subjective, and that what most architects like is different from what most non-architects like. Some of the comments seem to hit that right on the head. We forget that our appraisal of a shape, however educated, is a subjective response.

  • Elver Gun

    Sorry. To technical for my taste no art.

  • แจ๊กกีี้

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  • alex

    “largest NFL venue ever built”
    “retractable roof is the largest of its kind in the world”
    “largest enclosed NFL stadium in the world”
    “longest single span roof structure in the world”

    that’s all this stadium will ever be. It could have been designed by an engineer… this isn’t architecture. Nothing about the design is at all exciting other than facts and figures. And do we care how many tons of steel went into the arches?

  • http://guren.mn chingis

    wow very fantastic