Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof finally operational

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Nearly a year after its grand opening the Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s one-of-a-kind roof is now operational.

The innovative retractable roof, which resembles the aperture of a camera lens consisting of eight giant sections that slide together, has been beset with problems with its automation – it couldn’t be opened or shut at the press of a button – and suffered from water leakage.

However, it appears those issues are behind the US$1.5bn Atlanta, Georgia, stadium, as a group of selected media were invited yesterday (July 25) to witness the impressive feat of engineering in action.

“What I am really proud to announce today is we have the most unique roof structure in the world and it is fully functioning to design specification as intended,” said Steve Cannon, CEO of AMB Group, who was present at the demonstration.

The delay to getting the roof to full operation was reportedly to ensure the motors and mechanism would be able to withstand the eight giant petals – each weighing approximately 500 tons – sliding backward and forward along rail tracks. Additional modifications were required and as a result the roof has been closed almost entirely since August 2017, with the exception of three events.

With this now resolved, the demonstration reportedly took around eight minutes for the roof to open and a similar time to close, which happens to be faster than the original projection of 12 minutes. The roof will now enable much greater flexibility when hosting events at the stadium and will be able to host an open or closed roof Super Bowl when the American football event comes to town in February 2019.

“We are going to do everything we can to have this roof open as much as possible. The number one thing for this stadium is the fan comfort and the fan experience, where we will take into account temperature, chance of precipitation and wind, and take the decision on an event-by-event basis whether to have the roof open or not,” said Mike Egan, senior vice president and general counsel, AMB Group.

July 26, 2018

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James has been Editor of Stadia since 2018 having worked at magazines and websites around the world for the past 10 years covering everything from technology to motoring and more. He also edits Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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