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:
1) PROXIMITY TO DOWNTOWN AND RESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS
3) VISUAL CONNECTION TO THE ‘CITY’, DOWNTOWN AND MIDTOWN
4) IT FITS.
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 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.