Project: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Location: Atlanta, Georgia / USA
Credit: Michael Robinson; Bruce Damonte
Arthur Blank, the owner of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’s Atlanta United, wanted Mercedes-Benz Stadium to provide an architectural icon for the city and a fan experience that is second to none.HOK’s design reimagines what a stadium can be, creating a building that looks and functions like no other and that transforms the experience of going to a live event. The team approached the design from the top down, starting with a roof that appears to open and close like a camera aperture. Inspired by the oculus within Rome’s ancient Pantheon, the stadium’s signature roof was made possible only by modern architectural and engineering innovations. The roof is composed of eight 220-foot-long “petals.” Activated by the push of a button, the petals appear to rotate when opening but actually move in unison along 16 linear tracks.
Running along the entire perimeter of the roof opening is a high-definition, 360-degree halo video board that creates a theater-in-the-round experience. At nearly six stories high and one-fifth a mile in length, it’s the largest video board in any stadium.The facade, which follows the roof’s angular form, consists of alternating insulated metal and ETFE panels inspired by the shape of a falcon’s wing. On the stadium’s west side, the transparency creates a 16-story window that floods the space with daylight and offers panoramicviews of Atlanta’s skyline.The lightweight ETFE material is more energy-efficient than glass and enhances daylighting.
A 600,000-square-foot cistern under the stadium captures more than 2 million gallons of rainwater annually to mitigate flooding in Atlanta’s Westside neighborhood and provide irrigation for local trees. Bioswales improve the water quality and act as alternatives to storm sewers. More than 4,000 solar panels serve a dual function as carports and a power source capable of generating 617 kilowatt-hours of energy per year –enough to power 10 Falcons games. The focus on sustainability extends into the community through connections to public transit, a network of bike trails, an urban garden and open recreation spaces.