The 8 huge ETFE-clad panels that make up the roof resemble the petals of a flower. They glide on tracks to meet eventually at one point in the center, closing up the whole thing. The process of opening and closing, which is much similar to a camera lens aperture, is expected to take about 8 minutes upon its effective operation.
The design establishes a new architectural icon for Atlanta and a new benchmark for sports venues while creating a fan experience that is second to none. Wallpaper named it one of the top buildings that shaped the world’s culture in 2017.
Conventional retractable roofs feature utilitarian, sliding panels. For the design of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the team found inspiration in the way sunlight passes through the oculus in the roof of the Pantheon in Rome. Made up of eight triangular ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) “petals” that move together along 16 individual tracks, the semi-transparent roof opens and closes like the aperture of a camera.
As a continuation of the roof, the ETFE facade features angular, wing-like exterior sections. The transparency creates a 16-story “window to the city” that draws in daylight and offers panoramic views of Atlanta’s skyline.
Wrapping the perimeter of the oval-shaped roof is a high-definition, 360-degree halo video board that gives fans an immersive, theater-in-the round experience. The one-of-a-kind video board is the largest in any of the world’s stadiums (nearly six stories high and 1,075-feet around) and provides clear views from every seat while preserving the beauty of the roof. An additional video display—a 100-foot-high mega column—is wrapped with a 3-D video board, and there are 2,000 TVs throughout the venue. More than 4,000 miles of integrated fiber-optic cable supports the technology-driven, interactive game-day experience inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
A wide variety of seating options provide fans with different ticket prices, vantage points and levels of service. Amenities include a technology lounge and the 100 Yard Club, a row of concession stands that is bookended by bars and that stretches as long as the field itself.
The stadium can be easily reconfigured to accommodate games for the Falcons, Atlanta United and world-class events including the Super Bowl, NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four and major concerts. Retractable seats surrounding the field and a motorized curtain system help soccer fans get close to the action. An entirely digital stadium platform creates opportunities to display custom content for each event.
Designed for sustainability, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is North America’s first LEED Platinum professional sports stadium. A 600,000-square-foot cistern helps recapture and reuse rainwater. This helps protect the neighborhood from flooding and provides rainwater to irrigate trees throughout the city. The site has more than 4,000 solar PV panels. The focus on sustainability extends into the community through connections to public transit and the creation of urban farming areas and open recreation spaces.
In addition to serving as an anchor for the downtown tourist and entertainment district, the stadium will catalyze changes in surrounding neighborhoods. District-scale thinking enables the building to share resources with nearby developments.
HOK collaborated on the design with tvsdesign, Goode Van Slyke Architecture and Stanley Beaman & Sears. HOK’s structural engineers collaborated with BuroHappold, with WSP providing MEP and fire protection engineering.
Article and images via HOK