A Closer Look At The Retractable Roof Of A New Stadium

A Closer Look at the Retractable Roof of Atlanta's Bonkers New Stadium

Remember when the Atlanta Falcons announced they'd be building a new stadium -- using a boatload of public money -- that would be crowned with a retractable roof? The architects of the $US1.2 billion project recently passed along a new fly-through of the design. And while it's our best look yet at the structure, it also brings up plenty of questions.

The stadium's architect, 360 Architecture, was recently acquired by mega-firm HOK -- which sent along their latest renderings of the stadium, currently under construction and planned for a 2017 opening. You'll remember that the first renderings of its unusual roof structure showed a cobweb of wispy metallic struts that seemed to open and close, and the Falcons are going through with the unlikely (and definitely wildly expensive) plan.

The new fly-through shows a more developed version of the roof -- which Deadpsin obviously christened "the Sphincter" -- that will open and close like a hexagonal aperture on a camera, as a press release explains:

Inspired by the oculus in the ancient Rome Pantheon, the stadium's unique roof opening will provide tremendous flexibility in hosting a wide variety of events in the stadium. Eight unique roof petals can open in less than eight minutes, creating a "camera lens-like" effect that exposes the inside of the facility to the open air on game and event days. The roof is constructed of ETFE fabric that, when closed, allows for translucent light into the stadium.

Fascinating though it sounds, that's not a terribly detailed description of the defining feature of a building already well underway. The mechanics of the aperture seem fairly simple, but I'm curious about the tracks the eight roofing modules seem to slide on, and what's powering them -- not to mention how the movement will affect the rest of the structure, and how it will stand up to high winds. We've reached out to HOK to find out a bit more about the structure, and we'll report back when we do. [Atlanta Falcons]



    Great idea, seems semi plausible except for one thing that's bothering the hell out of me. I hope the animation of the aperture is sped up significantly, because if they are light enough to move that quickly, they won't have a huge amount of structural integrity.
    Also I can't see all the food court type areas being quite that expansive and opulent. Admittedly I'm an Aussie with no appreciation (or desire for it) of American football (or whatever this is for), and so have no idea how much they are willing to spend on it, but still, it seems like that would be too much.

      Eight unique roof petals can open in less than eight minutes

        Whoops, missed that. Much more realistic. Thanks very much!

    and I quote "...that will open and close like a hexagonal aperture on a camera, as a press release explains:..."

    Not all apertures on cameras are hexagonal. Some apertures have as few as 5 sides, some far more than 6. And in fact 8 doesn't seem completely uncommon. Why the need for such shoddy journalism. Just say '...that will open and close like the aperture on a camera....'


      But it WILL open like a camera aperture with 8 sides.
      They said LIKE not IDENTICALLY.

        you'll note that it wasn't the 'like' part I was arguing about. It was the unnecessary (and frequently inaccurate) reference to the number of 'sides' to the aperture.

    What's with the music? I kept waiting for Optimus Prime to fend off an orc invasion destroying the stadium in the process.

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