The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta opened in August of 2017 to great fanfare. Driven by Arthur Blank’s vision to “build a venue that would not only exceed expectations, but also push the limits of what was possible in terms of stadium design, fan experience and sustainability,” the new stadium truly changed the game for sports stadiums.
Bill Johnson, design principal for HOK, brought together experts from across the country to help realize the revolutionary engineering, design, and functionality envisioned for the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium project. The integrated team used a “top down” approach – literally – by envisioning the roof as the central design piece that would inform other elements to deliver a cohesive finished result.
Owens Corning experts joined Tennessee-based Porter Roofing contractors and Atlanta-based Larimer/Shannon Group to consult throughout the design and installation phases of the retractable roof. The collaboration led to the use of the Owens Corning® FOAMULAR® 1000 high-strength extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation to support Johnson’s state-of-the-art roof design.
Open and Closed Case for a Groundbreaking Roof
Inspired by the Pantheon in Rome with a circular opening in the domed roof, Johnson set out to challenge conventional retractable roof design by marrying physics, design and product solutions that delivered. A key design challenge quickly became the sheer weight involved with the design of the petal-like pieces intended to open and close similar to a camera lens.
Designed for use in engineered applications requiring additional load-bearing capability, Owens Corning® FOAMULAR® 1000 was selected as the insulation for the roof design. Proven to help resist damage from heavy loads with 100 psi compressive strengths, the unique closed-cell structure of FOAMULAR® XPS also helps to make it highly durable and resistant to moisture, retaining its excellent R-value even following prolonged exposure to moisture and freeze/thaw cycling.
After a series of models and tests working through the physics and weigh considerations, the team moved forward with the intricate and complex retractable roof design featuring eight triangular translucent panels creating the illusion of extended bird's wings when open. To achieve this automated movement, each segment would move alongside each other, sliding on its own linear track.
To accomplish this, the team immediately was faced with calibrating precise measurements that would accommodate the three different sized mechanized petals required to converge seamlessly in the oval opening. The Owens Corning team worked hand in hand with Porter Roofing to specialty cut FOAMULAR® XPS in tapered sizes supporting each of the petals.
The attention to detail on the state-of-the-art roof was time consuming. So, while it was the first design element addressed – it was the last to get finalized. When the LEED platinum certified stadium opened in 2017, the retractable roof system still required some additional fine-tuning.
The final construction phase of the roof was completed in July 2018 when it successfully opened and closed from the touch of a button in less than 12 minutes. Due to its impressive stats, the finished Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been hailed as revolutionary in its design, engineering, functionality, sustainability, technology, and fan-friendliness.
For more information on the Owens Corning® FOAMULAR® 1000 solution featured in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, please visit https://www.owenscorning.com/insulation/commercial or call 1-800-GET-PINK®.