Case Study

Lucas Oil Stadium Built to Last; Lucas Oil Stadium Relishes Role as First of New Generation Sports Arenas

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

The Challenge

HKS designers were challenged to design a multipurpose event facility filled with modern-day amenities and capabilities while maintaining the timeless, rustic look and feel of the Midwestern state the stadium calls home.

The Design Solution

Drawing on architectural energy from the city’s and state’s rich heritage, the Lucas Oil Stadium design conjures a turn-of-the-century look for one of the most distinctive, multi-use mega-venues in the United States. The design incorporates many elements unique to Indiana and its history as a sports powerhouse. The brick, steel and glass structure reflect the traditional forms and historical feel of the state’s venerable collegiate and high school basketball arenas and collegiate football stadiums. From an architectural standpoint, the facility is noteworthy for its retractable roof and seating bowl configuration that accentuate its distinct look and enhance its function. Huge retractable windows at the stadium’s northeast side provide guests with a clear view of the Indianapolis skyline, a view enhanced by the designers’ decision to place the structure at an angle on the property toward the radial city center of Indianapolis. With the Indianapolis Convention Center just across the railroad tracks, HKS designed a unique 25-foot, clear-of-structure exhibit hall expansion hall on the north end of the stadium with removable/retractable seats allowing the stadium floor to become another 145,000 square-foot exhibit hall to compliment the convention center complex complete with convention floor boxes at 60 foot centers each way for utility services.

The Design Impact

Since it opened in 2008, Lucas Oil Stadium hosts an average of 200-plus events a year, from small corporate meetings to large conventions to major sporting events. Those include home games for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, a Super Bowl, the annual NFL Draft Combine, two NCAA Final Four tournaments and many major concerts.

Project Features

  • Sits on 13 acres
  • 1.8 million square feet (167,225 sm)
  • 65,000 seats (football); 72,000 (NCAA basketball)
  • 146 suites
  • 7,000 club seats
  • Retractable roof
  • Moving windows


  • 2009 ACEC, Grand Award for Excellence in Engineering
  • 2009 Sports Business Journal / Sports Business Daily, Sports Facility of the Year
  • 2008 Midwest Construction, Overall Project of the Year

We needed our design team to think outside the box in designing a multi-purpose facility for Indianapolis. HKS stepped up to the challenge from the start and has created a state-of-the-art venue that will benefit our fans, the NFL and the state of Indiana for decades to come.

Senior Executive Vice President, Indianapolis Colts