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LEO A DALY, Minnesota, pedestrian link, tunnel, sheltered passage, underground architecture, outdoor amphitheater, green roof, green-roofed architecture

The 140-foot long, 12-foot wide underground structure connects Minnesota State Mankato’s Memorial Library and the recently renovated Centennial Student Union (CSU), and also creates an outdoor amphitheaterthat is nestled into the existing landscape. A curtain wall allows natural light to penetrate the interior, while most of The Connection’s external walls are made from weathering steel. The steel creates a sense of connection between the tunnel structure and a steel sculpture located at the east end of the site.

Related: Incredible images show Crossrail’s dramatic underground tunnels beneath London’s streets

The structure is topped by a green roof to help insulate against the chilly Minnesota winters. In order to create the “folded” curtain-wall design, the architects and engineers designed a mat structure and steel framing which runs the length of the tunnel and supports the cast-in-place concrete form which was used to install the corrugated steel panels.