Uniqueness Among Reasons Mercedes-Benz Stadium Roof Not Yet Ready
The retractable roof at Mercedes-Benz Stadium has required "more money, time, steel and stress than anyone involved expected," according to a front-page piece by Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. The roof is not "ready to retract, forcing games to be played with it in the closed position until mechanization is completed." Falcons and stadium officials do not "know exactly when they’ll be able to open the roof for a game." But they said that it will be "sometime this fall." Architectural firm HOK Senior VP Bill Johnson said the difficulties “had a lot to do with the fact that this roof has never been done before." The roof concept was "introduced by Johnson and his team," and their pitch won the $35M assignment, "in part because it met Falcons owner Arthur Blank’s mandate for a building that resembled no other." Tucker notes while retractable roofs on other NFL stadiums have "two massive moving pieces, Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s eight are four different sizes and must move at slightly differing speeds." Johnson: "The complexity of the roof structure is something we found out along the way. It was a lot more difficult to achieve that structure than we had originally anticipated." Blank said in the future the roof "will be open more often than it will be closed." The construction team has "moved the roof four times so far." However, rather than in the expected 12 minutes, the moves have "required hours or even days." But Blank insists it is not a "big disappointment to him." Blank said, "I don’t get upset, to be honest with you, over two or three months delay. The roof works. It just doesn’t open and close in 12 minutes yet, but it does open and close" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 8/22).