Days away from opening, here’s what Mercedes-Benz Stadium looks like now

It’s almost go time
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Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

Eleven days from the Atlanta Falcons’ pre-season opener, the team hosted an open house on Tuesday for the media at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Crews are still working to ready the stadium for it’s debut, but the turf is in, the lines are painted, and the restaurants are firing up their grills. Though the final number hasn’t yet been determined, estimates for the cost of the new home of the Falcons and United are as high as $1.5 billion. Want to know more? Check out “American Cathedral,” our feature in the September issue on the years-long effort to build the stadium.

The “mega-column” is an LED screen wrapped around 3 sides of a concrete support tower. Behind it, the plastic windows—made of a substance called ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) looks out over downtown. As you walk toward the south and west of the stadium, the ETFE is covered with dots (called frits) to block out much of the sun’s heat.

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

The view from the third level. Seating capacity is 71,000, but is expandable for special events, like the Super Bowl, to 75,000.

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

Although Falcons owner Arthur Blank had originally wanted natural grass at his new stadium, the realities of the roof and the need to transition the venue for other purposes made turf the best option.

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

The “halo board,” as it’s called, is a video screen that is 1,100 linear feet around—the height of the Eiffel Tower. It weighs 350 tons and is supported by 500 tons of steel.

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

Project manager Bill Darden discusses the roof. The entire roof is built of and supported by 27,000 tons of steel, each of which is cantilevered out to 19 “megacolumns” around the stadium perimeter. That means there are no pillars obstructing the view inside the stadium. The world’s biggest moveable crane was used to lift portion of the roof from the ground to 200 feet in the air. The biggest single lift by the crane was a piece weighing 1.9 million pounds.

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

The roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium will remain closed deep into the Falcons’ season, as engineers work to automate its opening and closing. Visible through the ETFE “pillows” on top of the roof is the Mercedes-Benz logo.

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

Steve Cannon, CEO of Falcons’ and Atlanta United’s parent company AMB Group, discusses the roof.

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

Inside the Falcons’ locker room

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

Inside the Falcons’ locker room

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

Falcons president Rich McKay speaks in the Falcons’ locker room. There are at least six different locker rooms at Mercedes-Benz Stadium—two NFL locker rooms, two college football locker rooms, and two soccer locker rooms.

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

Atlanta United President Darren Eales discusses the field dimensions. The stadium was built to accommodate a FIFA-sanctioned pitch. Retractable seating in the corners of the stadium can convert a football gridiron into a soccer pitch.

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

The Delta Sky 360 Club

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

The Delta Sky 360 Club

Photograph by Steve Fennessy

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