Changing Landscapes: ATL Style

ImageIt’s funny how a building or structure can not only captivate an audience, but in many respects be iconic and define a city.  Thomas Jefferson once said, “Architecture worth great attention.  It is then among the most important arts: and it is desirable to introduce taste into an art which shews so much.”  Perhaps The White House as we know it is not quite what President Jefferson would have experienced when he first moved in back in 1801, but it is certainly a landmark that draws immediate associations with Washington, D.C.; along with so many other cities.  San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge.  New York has the Statue of Liberty.  Chicago has the Sears Tower.  Atlanta will have its new stadium…wait, what?  I’ll give you a moment to process this as you rack your brains…

I don’t know how that curveball made you feel, but trust me, I feel the same way after reading this story multiple times.

Okay, so it may not even be built yet.  However, judging by the proposed stadium designs for the new Atlanta Falcons facility, it’s not a question of if it will make many architecture lists, but rather under what name.  The two current options out there are:

  1. The Atlanta Pantheon
  2. The Solarium

The name isn’t all that important right now because they are both pretty outrageous designs.  The first design features what looks like a giant metallic starfish lying on top of a relatively normal stadium design – with an “oculus” that opens up in the middle of the roof.  This is a great feature for those of you that have spent any time in Georgia during the summer months, but the thing is, it’s not nearly as hot when football season roles around.  In any case, the second design goes in a very different direction of retractable roofs and creates what looks like a ginormous greenhouse/airport hangar.  I personally think the first option would be more intriguing if the City of Atlanta is really looking to stretch the limits of architecture.   Mostly because the second design already has a somewhat similar feel to Chase Field in Phoenix.

Creating an iconic design doesn’t end with the exterior though.  Especially when Arthur Blank and his Atlanta Falcons want to create something that will bring sports fans out of hibernation from their man caves and back to the stadium.  Some of the proposed features include:

Rich McKay, Atlanta Falcons CEO, would go on to say, “It has to move the needle with respect to the fantasy experience.  It has to be a game changer, not just when it opens and everyone goes “wow”, but as you move forward.

Regardless of which design the Falcons and City of Atlanta decide on, they’re definitely going to end up with something pretty radical.