On Aug. 26, Atlanta, Ga., fans got to try out the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the first time when the Falcons hosted the Arizona Cardinals in a preseason NFL game. The two-million-square-foot facility accommodates 71,000 fans for football games and can expand to 75,000 seats for marquee events.
Designed by HOK, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm, the $1.5 billion stadium is a state-of-the-art facility, featuring a 360-degree halo video board and a 16-story “window to the city” that draws in daylight and offers floor-to-ceiling views of the downtown Atlanta skyline.
Another innovation is the stadium’s retractable roof. Instead of conventional sliding panels that offer little aesthetic value, the roof has a sculptural design that opens and closes like a camera aperture. A nod to the shape of a falcon’s wing, the semi-transparent roof consists of eight triangular ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) panels that move in unison along 16 tracks. More than 143,500 square feet of ETFE “pillows” are used in the wing-like petals alone. In the closed position, they lock together to form a watertight seal. The ETFE facade features angular, wing-like exterior sections as a continuation of the roof.
Wrapping the perimeter of the oval-shaped roof, the halo video board gives fans an immersive, theater-in-the-round experience that is three times larger than any other video display in the NFL. For more information, visit www.hok.com.