Beneath The Falcons’ Roof

The Atlanta Falcons will raise the roof when the $1.5 billion

Falcons Nest
John Bazemore/AP
– Falcons’ Nest
The retractable roof for the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will be closed when the facility debuts for an Atlanta Falcons football game next month. There is no word when the camera-shutter roof, which forced delays, will open.

The future home of the football team, set to open Aug. 26, showcases numerous new state-of-art features, but the most impressive is probably its flower-like, eight-piece retractable roof, which opens like a camera lens. It’s the largest retractable opening in the world, according to Popular Mechanics.

Requiring more than 21,000 pounds of steel and 1.8 million pounds of trusses, the roof is a technical marvel. Each of the eight moving pieces weighs 500 tons, and are 220 feet long, 75 feet wide and 40 feet deep. The four main trusses stand 72 feet and are all about 720 feet long. Two seven-horse powered motors push each independently moving petal into place.

LED lights attached to each piece illuminate the inside of the roof when closed, creating a 64,000-square-foot halo-shaped video board, the world’s largest.

“The way we sent it to architects was, if you come in and show us a building that looks like any other building, you’re out,” Rich McKay, president and CEO of the Falcons, told Popular Mechanics.

All the moving parts and lighting will require up to 40 people operating in the control room, twice the amount for a typical NFL stadium.

Mike Gomes, senior VP of fan experience, said 4,000 miles of fiber optic cable run throughout the stadium. The all-fiber network is reportedly the first of its kind.