Earlier this winter, the ALSD joined Scott Jenkins, General Manager of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, for a hard-hat tour of the new home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United. It was a cool afternoon in downtown Atlanta with thick winter clouds blanketing the sky. Our safety googles fogged, but the furious activity around us was clear to see. Fifteen hundred construction craftsmen and women are working around the clock on a seemingly mad dash to the building’s July 30th opening.
But it’s only a mad dash to the untrained eye. The construction schedule is well-oiled, with multiple stages of the project being constructed concurrently. Some spaces, including many suites, are already punched. Meanwhile six cranes, two of which are the largest crawler cranes in the world, are lifting the eight pieces of the stadium’s signature operable roof that sit 40 feet on top of a Rubik’s cube of complex fixed-roof steel trusses, weighing 18,000 tons in totality.
“It’s exciting to see some of this stuff getting close to the finish line,” says Jenkins. “Between now and roughly six months, we’ll see it come to the finish.”
“[The roof] has been the biggest challenge construction-wise. Now that that’s up there, we’re feeling great about the momentum we have on the rest of the project to bring it to the finish line.” – Scott Jenkins, General Manager, Mercedes-Benz Stadium
The joint venture of Holder Construction Co., Hunt Construction Group, H.J. Russell & Co., and C.D. Moody Construction Co. (HHRM) is collectively managing the nearly two-million-square-foot project, which was designed by HOK Sports + Recreation + Entertainment.
A significant construction milestone was achieved in December when HHRM crews decentered the aforementioned fixed-roof at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. After jacking down the shoring towers, the 36 million pounds of steel dropped 22 inches as planned, settled, and supported itself.
“[The roof] was spaghetti. Between the amount of cranes, the amount of steel, and the shoring towers, it looked rather chaotic,” adds Jenkins. “To clear that up and see the view, it’s really quite dramatic.”
With the workspace now clear of the shoring towers, the components of the operable roof portion, known as “petals” (like the petals of a flower), are now being assembled on the floor. Once installed, the eight triangular-shaped pieces will open and close in approximately ten seconds. Video renderings display the roof blooming in a circular motion, but this appearance is an optical illusion. The triangles, in fact, move on a straight line.
“[The roof] has been the biggest challenge construction-wise,” Jenkins says. “Now that that’s up there, we’re feeling great about the momentum we have on the rest of the project to bring it to the finish line.”
The $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium is tracking to become the first professional stadium to be certified LEED Platinum. Efficiency characteristics include a substantial investment in solar power. In total, 4,000 solar panels will be deployed, producing 1.6 megawatts of renewable energy. About 30% less energy will be needed from the grid to power the stadium.
From a water standpoint, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will use about half as much H2O as the typical building. On site, a rainwater capture system that includes a 1.1-million-gallon storm vault feeds a 680,000-gallon cistern to be used for the cooling tower and to irrigate the site landscaping.