Magnificent Metal Monday

Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium host of Super Bowl LIII. Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

With the first round of NFL playoffs behind us, we are one week closer to Atlanta hosting the LIII Super Bowl. So for Magnificent Metal Monday we take a closer look at the Atlanta’s newest iconic gem, the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Home to the NFL Atlanta Falcons and the MLS National Champions Atlanta United FC, the stadium opened its doors in August 2017. It is nothing short of being one of the most highly regarded stadiums built in the last decade.

The $1.5 billion shiny, monstrous, can’t-miss-it stadium has some incredibly fancy technology. Undeniably, the zenith is the 14-acre retractable roof, which takes approximately nine to 12 minutes to open or close. The roof has eight moving panels, called petals, that weigh about 500 tons each. Bill Darden, president of Darden & Company, the project-management firm that oversaw the development of the stadium for the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank. Hailed as one of the most complicated roof designs in the world, Darden compared its construction to “a Swiss watchmaker working with micro-ounce pieces that are so small you can barely even know they’re in your hand.”

Each of the eight petals is more than 200 feet long and contain 4,000 tons of steel. Each petal rests on the “bogies,” or mechanisms that sit on the rails. For the roof to open or close, the bogies move the petals along eight separate tracks, which are attached to the fixed portion of the roof. The roof is powered by 12 motors per petal and each petal is moved independently but in unison with the others. “It’s just an incredibly one-of-a-kind thing,” Darden said of the roof. And more than once, Arthur Blank has called it “the most complicated roof design in the history of the world.” 

All of the stadium’s structural steel includes 18,000 tons in the fixed roof, 4,000 tons in the retractable portion, 4,000 tons in the “skin” of the building and 580 tons to support the video board. The venue touts the largest video board in U.S. sports: a 63,800-square-foot, halo-shaped screen that measures 58 feet tall and 1,100 feet around.

Mercedes-Benz stadium by the numbers compared to the former Georgia Dome.

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