Major League Soccer's Atlanta United FC played their first game out of the brand new 71,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday, and although the striking retractable roof that opens and closes like the aperture of a camera wasn't put to use, the building still seemed to make quite the first impression. The two million-square-foot facility will also serve as the home turf for the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons, which will debut in the complex on September 17.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, image via Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The building's retractable roof is arguably the biggest attention-grabber. Shunning the sliding panels of conventional retractable roofs, the pinwheel-like system is inspired by the oculus in the roof of Rome's Pantheon. Eight triangular ETFE 'petals' interact along 16 individual tracks, allowing the translucent canopy to control the entrance of sunlight. An ETFE facade consists of angular, wing-like exterior modules that create a 16-storey "window to the city."

The oval-shaped roof aperture is wrapped by a 360-degree halo video board. The six-storey-high screen, measuring 1,075 feet in circumference, is the largest in any of the world's stadiums. A 100-foot-high mega column is also enveloped in a 3D video board.

The multi-purpose stadium stands on a lot next to the Georgia Dome — the former home of the Falcons — which will be demolished and replaced by Home Depot Backyard, a green events and entertainment space periodically used for game day parking. HOK designed the state-of-the-art stadium in collaboration with tvsdesign, Goode Van Slyke Architecture and Stanley Beaman & Sears.

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Related Companies:  Georgia World Congress Center Authority, Goode Van Slyke Architecture, HOK, Stanley Beaman & Sears, tvsdesign