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Atlanta Falcons’ new stadium has incredible retractable roof, high-tech amenities

In architecture, if you’re looking to make a statement and contribute to a city’s design conversation, you need to go bold. And that’s what’s happening in Atlanta. Slated to be completed in 2017, the $1.2-billion New Atlanta Stadium in Georgia won’t just be another sports and entertainment venue for the Atlanta Falcons, a future Major League Soccer team, and other events, but a high-tech structure that showcases what the stadium of the future looks like.

Anticipated to replace the Georgia Dome – the current home for the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons – the New Atlanta Stadium’s (the working name until an official name or corporate sponsor is picked) architectural highlight is the retractable roof. Inspired by the oculus of the ancient Rome Pantheon, the roof uses a system of eight “petals” that slide open, in less than 8 minutes; imagine something like a camera shutter opening and closing. Once it’s open, the stadium’s roof looks like a giant flower.

While the unique retractable roof channels the past, inside it’s all futuristic. First of its kind, beneath the roof is a 360-degree high-definition video board, dubbed the “halo board.” The largest video board in any stadium, the five-story-tall display gives every fan additional camera views and digital content. For the football fan who’s also a techie, the stadium will house an area called the Technology Lounge, where fans can track their fantasy football teams and other digital media, while watching the real game.

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The stadium may be geared for sporting events, but seating capacity can be adjusted. For example, using a mechanized curtaining system, the giant stadium – which can accommodate major events like the Super Bowl – can reduce the number of seats to create a more intimate setting for family shows and smaller concerts. To give some soul to the building, the northeast corner of the stadium will have massive floor-to-ceiling windows that provide natural light and a view of the Atlanta skyline. There will be plenty of open space for fans to mingle, while outside, a 61,000-square-foot fan plaza will be available for related activities.

Modern architecture factors environment and sustainability into building design, and the New Atlanta Stadium is no exception. Its developers are seeking the highest LEED certification possible, so that means making zero-waste and water conservation some of the top priorities. To create renewable energy, solar panels will be installed next to the building. And the retractable roof and natural light from the windows help to lower energy use during sunny days. Stadium developers will also encourage fans to use public or alternative transportation; bike lanes and electric car charging stations will be created.

Construction is already underway, but new photos and a fly-through virtual tour have just been made available. Despite the high price tag, if the New Atlanta Stadium is built on budget, it actually costs less than the new MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, which doesn’t even have a roof.

(Images via New Atlanta Stadium.)