In Green Bay, Wisconsin, a development next to the city’s football arena has an unexpected architectural feature: a giant, two-story sledding hill that lets you slide from the top of a building all the way down to the ground.
Designed by the architecture firm Rossetti, the hill was created to bring people to Titletown–a development around the Green Bay Packers’ football stadium Lambeau Field–even when the team isn’t playing. That’s a particularly difficult thing to do when half the year the weather is freezing and miserable. “The winter in that part of Wisconsin is pretty brutal,” says Jon Disbrow, the design lead on the project. “Lambeau Field is known as the ‘frozen tundra’ because it’s such a severe place to play football in the winter. We wanted to make sure the 10-acre park was an active place all year round.”
The sledding hill is a big part of that plan–and when it opened in December 2017, it was an instant hit. Another Titletown tenant, Hinterland Brewery, says it has seen its restaurant business quadruple since it moved to the location in August 2017, as parents will often sit inside while their kids are sledding in the winter. This is part of the development’s goal: to kickstart economic growth in the area, using the football team as a booster for the local economy. Microsoft is also involved in the development project. The tech company is working with the Packers to underwrite a startup accelerator, venture capital fund, and workspace that will eventually be located right next to the football stadium.
The hill is supported by a two-story building that features a cafe and event space. The resulting structure makes the hill–and the building–look like part of the landscape, with the hill’s plateau forming a green roof for the structure. There’s a hydraulic wall at the top of the hill that can be moved depending on the season–it’s just a wall in winter, but transforms into a bar for the summer months when the space hosts events on the building’s roof.
Sledding closed earlier this month with the arrival of spring. But the hill has a dual purpose: This summer, it’ll be a big grassy hill, perfect for picnics and concerts.