Revision 1: Stadium for the Atlanta Falcons

This post is one part of a series of projects revising spaces and places in Atlanta, Georgia. CLOUD hopes to use projects like the one below to show how we would have done things different, how some spaces could be improved, or to offer an architect’s perspective on the world. Please enjoy the post, and feel free to offer any comments or criticisms below.

What CLOUD thinks a revised Falcons Stadium should be (also known as ‘the Program’):

An open-air National Football League Stadium with 65,000 seats. It should have 166 suites, and 12 000 club seats (in two clubs, upper and lower).

On-site Parking for 5000 cars. Most of this will come from building a low rise parking deck on the site. We won’t get into the particulars here; we’re more worried about the stadium architecture.

Keep in mind that this is a very general program. Realistically, the program for a building of this size is quite complex and deals with a wide range of issues from entering/exiting the building safely, to the quantity of concession stands and water closets (that’s what architects call toilets), and the massive amounts of storage space and where the Lombardi Trophy will be displayed when the Falcons win it in 2012. For our purposes, we’re going to be tackling the big ideas (pun intended).

Open-Air vs. Domed Stadium

CLOUD believes an open-air football stadium will be fundamental to the success of the franchise. We believe that Southern football is meant to be played outdoors. And the fans in the South-east are used to watching their games in large stadiums open to the crisp autumn air and under the blue sky.

Furthermore, the Falcons, under coach Mike Smith and GM Thomas Dimitroff, are being built to win in January. Outdoors.

So we’re all for designing a Southern Football stadium.

Where CLOUD thinks the Stadium should be (the Site):

The stadium needs to be better integrated into downtown. Therefore, CLOUD is proposing the block of the existing Atlanta Civic Center site as the new home for the Atlanta Falcons.

Calling for the demolition of the Atlanta Civic Center is not done lightly, but a new venue for outdoor football, soccer and concerts could have a significant impact on the walkable surrounding areas.

CLOUD feels that this is the best site for a few other reasons, such as:





The revised Falcons stadium has to be about one One Big Move™.

CLOUD feels big buildings need to make One Big Move™, because they are only viewed in their entirety from a distance (like from a blimp on TV). So when you see stadiums that are a collection of structure, seats, and glass you don’t get a feeling the architects had a unified vision; it looks like a collection of junk space. Remember, there are only 32 stadiums in the NFL and they should all look like they are showcasing a big idea, unfortunately most do not.

Our One Big Move™ is going to be a wrapper of metal skin and translucent panels that will let the stadium become a lantern on game days.

Therefore getting to the design, we start with some concept sketches:

Most football fans prefer the curved section for a couple of reasons. First the straight section puts you “behind the play” for most of the game. You’re keeping your neck crooked except for those plays that are directly in front of you. It gets to be uncomfortable looking down field while keeping your body straight, whereas a curved section makes watching the game easier by turning you towards the action. If you’re sitting at the 10 yard line, it feels like you’re at the 30 because of the curvature of the bowl. The Georgia Dome does this already and we’re opting to keep it. Straight line bowls are horrible and should never be done in a true football venue.

As part of our One Big Move, we’re including a large over hang to protect the people in the seats from the sun/rain but to allow the stadium to be open air. We imagine that the over hang will have a movable cover, so that on crisp October Sundays when the sun will keep you warm the cover can be pulled back to shine on you.

Something the Falcons are currently missing in the Dome is an extremely loud fan zone. We want to create a situation similar to the old Dawg Pound in Cleveland (the new one isn’t nearly as vicious, they took a lot of the soul away from the ‘Pound).  Something we would like to see created would be a detached end zone section that has its own tailgating area. If Mr. Blank wanted to guarantee an active tailgate every Sunday, he could sell this section as a first-come-first-served seating to those inside the tailgating area. We would then push this section as close to the end zone as allowed by NFL rules. The Saints’ Drew Brees wouldn’t be able to hear himself think on this side of the field. This section would be gesture much to the fans as the suites and club area are about corporate sponsors.

The revisionCLOUD|concept:

The material concept would feature a perforated metal panel system with a translucent skin system on top that change colors (think of the “water cube” in Bejing):

We’re calling the open end of the stadium the Falcon’s Nest. It would have a terrace at the back to prolong the tailgate party where the Falcons could set up concessions areas:

So, if you’re Arthur Blank, or Rich McKay or could get us an interview with them please contact us. This is a stadium that should be done by Atlantans for Atlanta and for all of Southern Football by Southern football fans.

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14 Responses to “Revision 1: Stadium for the Atlanta Falcons”
  1. Hindu Elvis Pimp says:

    Big problem with this site. There is a 500+ bed hospital just 2 blocks away. I doubt they would let this happen.

  2. Paulitik says:

    Good news! The Ain’ts will need that hospital after the games.

    But seriously, are there other examples of the hospital issue in other cities? Would expanded emergency lanes, off the exits, with dedicated lanes for ambulances do the trick? What logistics do state and or federal laws require in such instances?

  3. Hobnail_Boot says:

    Can we be honest about something? Atlanta is a college-first town. The Falcons are an afterthought to the SEC and ACC followings that run rampant throughout the metro area.

    The Dome has allowed Atlanta to host the SEC football championship, SEC and ACC basketball championships, Olympic sports including gymnasticas and basketball, and various other collegiate sporting events that would not be possible in the newly proposed stadium. It has also hosted Super Bowls and Final Fours.

    The Dome has helped Atlanta to earn and maintain its image as a global city. It would be short-sighted to neuter the revenue stream that it guarantees. As proven within the last 18 months, the Dome just needs an occasional facelift to remain a 1st-class facility.

  4. Brian says:

    Isn’t that site where the Civic Center is?

    I think you’d be hard pressed to get the city to tear that down…

  5. Allen says:

    I think an even better site would be the several square blocks just east of Turner Field, including the ball fields and running track (see google earth). The housing density in this area is very low, and it would really build up an area of Atlanta that could really use it. The area in question could hold any size stadium plus thousands of parking spaces, not to mention the thousands of shared spaces with Turner Field that are already in existance. There would be a great view of the Atlanta skyline, and be close to I-75. If we could get a Marta line between the two stadiums it would really open up a new area of the city for commercial growth.
    There’s my two cents….

  6. Douglas says:

    Atlanta is among the cities/regions being considered to host the World Cup. The US has put in a bid for the 2018 and 2022 editions of the Tournament, and they are pretty much guaranteed one or the other. Odds are part of the group play will be in the Southeast with Atlanta most likely being the hub (Georgia Dome, Bobby Dodd Stadium, Sanford Stadium all of which are within 45 minutes of eachother, and all larger than the smaller stadiums in south africa (BDS is the smallest at 55K) )

    Odds are Blank will use this to his advantage in his quest to build a new stadium.

    I like the idea of a new one, it would provide a lot more opportunities a second bowl game, perhaps the occasional host to the ACC and/or CUSA championship games, it would make Atlanta a more attractive option for future Superbowl bids (and of course the upcoming World Cup bid). That being said there are negatives that come with building a new stadium no matter the location, as statistically it drives down property values, increases traffic (in the city already considered the worst place for traffic in the country), and increases in violence/crimes, these factors have to be considered and properly dealt with before a new stadium is built.

    Beautifull design by the way, and I like the Falcon’s Nest idea as well as the terracing idea (I love the way Soccer Stadiums are often constructed in Europe, how they have the overhangs that extend the shade time during day games, and this design seems to do the same thing)

    One thing I don’t like; the red seating, I would suggest black so it wouldn’t alienate the Georgia Tech fans who are also Falcons fans but they would absorb too much heat. Oh well.

  7. Danny says:

    Wait a minute. You address vehicular traffic concerns but not the proximity of public transportation to this site?

    You want everyone to drive there? What a disaster.

    The Civic Center MARTA station would be a 3-4 block walk to the stadium vs. being on site at the Dome.

  8. Andrew says:

    We don’t expect everyone to drive there and we’re big advocates for improving the public transportation network in this city (see here). However, we addressed vehicular traffic in this study to show that Falcons they can create a tailgating zone around their stadium in this location – something that’s not too prevalent at the Dome. Also, the team is hoping to be in control of 10,000+ parking space to generate revenue. So vehicular traffic is very important for this stadium.

    One last point: having MARTA 2 blocks away would be a good thing. It would help weave new businesses into the neighborhood to serve the heavy foot traffic.

    We’re going to revise this post soon to be on the parking lot north of the GWCC. Be on the lookout for it.


    Anyway, thanks for reading! We appreciate the feedback.

  9. Caleb says:

    Dude, this is amazing! Did you just use Sketchup to do this?

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