For those who don’t already know, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minnesota was recently the scene of a collapsing roof disaster captured on video. How did this happen?
Construction on a new multi-purpose stadium in Minneapolis began in 1979 when it became clear that the old Metropolitan Stadium in nearby Bloomington no longer met the standards required by professional sports teams in the United States.
There weren't enough luxury boxes, and the concession stand only sold grapes.
Because Minnesota receives a lot of snow in the wintertime during football season, and occasionally even in spring or fall during baseball season, it was thought the new stadium should have a roof. Because architects apparently don't go outside much, it was thought that an inflatable fabric roof would do the trick.
And because it was the second stadium ever built with such a roof, it was named after a native son who once held the second-highest office in the land, the cartoonishly-monikered former Vice-President Hubert Horatio Humphrey.
"No, I'm not one of the Oompah-Loompahs. I presided over the Senate, dammit!"
Thus was born the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
The stadium cost $68 million to build, coming in $2 million under budget. For a landmark building with enough staying power to be the butt of jokes for nearly 30 years, this was indeed a bargain for the taxpayers.
The roof was designed to be "air supported," a fancy way of saying "it's a fucking balloon." The pressure holding the roof up is provided by 20 fans, each operating at 90 horsepower. The roof design necessitated the use of revolving doors throughout the building, since leaving a door open too long could result in lowered air pressure inside. Load-bearing cheerleaders provide additional support .
The roof actually consists of two layers, with warm air being pumped between them to melt the snow collecting on top of the structure. There is a control center within the building, which monitors conditions outside and adjusts the air accordingly. The most recent collapse was the fourth time since 1982 that this system has failed, resulting in tears to the fabric and deflation of the structure.
The pitifully deflated structure was documented on camera and images were circulated on the internet. Wait, is that the right picture?
Finally, the video footage you all would have been waiting for if you hadn't seen it already: