Kinnick Stadium installs ‘breathable’ exterior glass skin


As part of the latest renovation of the iconic Kinnick Stadium, home to the University of Iowa Hawkeyes football team, it has installed a custom glass façade that helps the building ‘breathe’.

The ventilated glass cladding and rainscreen system wraps the entire North End Zone and spans 655 feet, incorporating over 14,000 square feet of decorative glass. The custom glass design was inspired by a hawk wing.

Created by architectural glass specialists Bendheim, the breathable glass skin was chosen by Neumann Monson Architects to provide the stadium natural ventilation for hot early-season games, as well as block wind and moisture during the colder fall and winter months.

The façade system used customized compression clips to clasp the glass panels, which reach sizes up to 62in by 154in. This eliminated the need for drilled holes in the glass, which are required in typical point-supported (spider) systems and can create alignment issues. The adjustable, non-traditional point-supported Bendheim system sped installation and ensured easy future maintenance. It also allowed fabrication of the glass and hardware to begin immediately – from the approved shop drawings, rather than field measurements. The system is custom-engineered to support the weight of the glass, with a minimal amount of visible hardware and 1.5in tolerance in all directions.

“Hawkeye fans are passionate about their stadium. There are generations of season ticket holders, and we were very respectful towards their experience,” said Asa Houston, architect at Neumann Monson. “We wanted to design something light and elegant, to create a modern intervention on the north side of the historic structure. We didn’t want the design to detract from the original 1929 structure.”

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James has been Editor of Stadia since 2018 having worked at print and digital magazines and websites around the world covering everything from lifestyle to sport, technology, motoring, and more. He also edits Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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