If there were a Super Bowl for lighting, Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium would take home the ring.
From the outside in, Atlanta’s new, $1.5-billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium one-of-a-kind design makes a statement. Home of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and the Atlanta United FC of Major League Soccer (MLS), the amenity-filled stadium stands out during the day. Thanks to aesthetically pleasing, high-efficiency, LED lighting solutions from Los Angeles-based Acclaim Lighting, it also makes a bold statement at night.
Completed in August 2017, the 305-ft.-tall stadium’s distinctive facade consists of a lightweight polymer surface with adjustable opacity. This lets the facilities team control lighting, day or night. The stadium’s unique, pinwheel-like, oculus retractable roof allows natural light to enter the stadium in two ways: with the roof open or through the facility’s north and east ends. Reminiscent of the Roman Pantheon and a falcon’s wings, the roof is made up of eight triangular sections and can open or close within 10 minutes.
Inside the stadium, football fans encounter one of the most unique experiences in the NFL. The stadium’s centerpiece, a 63,800-sq.-ft., halo-shaped video board spans the retractable roof’s perimeter. The 360-deg. screen is 58 ft. tall and runs 1,100 ft. around the stadium, providing an immersive viewing experience for 71,000 fans (with as many as 80,000 seats possible for special events). This includes 7,500 club seats and 180 luxury suites.
The lower deck encloses the playing field, and additional seating decks are located on both sides of the field. Not only can fans watch the action on the field or scoreboard, but they also can see the Atlanta skyline through the Windows to the City, located on the east end of the stadium. This floor-to-ceiling window brings natural light into the stadium and provides spectacular views of downtown.
For those who want to wander from their seats during an event, the stadium’s numerous clubs and lounges, including the Champions Lounge, behind the Falcon’s bench, provide comfortable viewing areas. Open to all fans, the 100 Yard Club is a football-field-length themed gathering and socializing area with concessions, bars, and a beer garden. Altogether, the stadium has more than 600 concession areas featuring many unique eating options. A 100-ft.-high, mega-column 3D video board and multiple LED ribbon boards provide highlights and game statistics from kickoff to the end of the fourth quarter.
A Team Approach
The lighting team worked around numerous challenges while creating aesthetic and functional lighting for the structure, many of the lighting requirements using Acclaim Lighting products. Lighting in architectural cove areas in the locker rooms, suites, and corridors; accenting the locker-room entrances; and illuminating art installations and sculptures required extensive planning.
For the accent coves, Shane Wallace, project technician for Ardd and Winter, Atlanta, said, “It was important to get fairly high lumen output and be able to dim without light flicker. In addition, the various mounting channel options allowed for many customized installations”
To achieve this, Acclaim’s thin, flexible Flex II interior LED circuit strip was used, based on the product’s ability to provide lumen output that matched and exceeded the expectations. The circuit strip is available in multiple color options from 2400 K and 2700 K to 3000 K, 3500 K, and 4000 K. Lumen output is 303/ft. at 4000 K. Flex II can be cut every 2 in. to create the exact length needed for specification applications. The Flex II’s combination of high output and low profile provided a winning solution for multiple accent-cove applications including locker room entrances, under cabinet and around countertops and millwork in the suites, and at the bars.
“Acclaim’s LED solution provided the flexibility for cleanly integrating into the many architectural details across the project,” said architectural lighting designer Jay Wratten, WSP, Atlanta. “With over 5 miles of linear LED tape on the project, [the company’s] many options allowed us to minimize vendor solutions and simplify maintenance for the owner.”
For the roof petals, the stadium required a high-efficiency fixture that could generate lighting evenly, including illuminations at close range. The team selected Dyna Drum SO QW, a high-output, compact, outdoor LED flood fixture for large-scale façade lighting as well as area flood lighting. The luminaire is 12 1/2-in. wide, about 10-in. high, and has an 11in. diameter, and consumes only 120 W. The IP66-rated LED flood fixture has beam angles of 6 deg. standard, with 25-, 40-, and 60-deg.-spread lens options.
“The Dyna Drums give a nice glow to the roof and provide the opportunity to program special effects for fan enjoyment,” Wallace said. “Dyna Drum units were also specified for the catwalk LED flag spotlight, and lighting the soccer-ball sculpture.”
In the North Founders Club, DynaGraze Exterior HO, a high-output, linear, single-color fixture is used for grazing. The fixture offers multiple beam angles, color temperatures, and dimming capabilities.
Dyna Flood SO was specified for the area outside of the VIP Club. The lighting will be used to highlight the players as they pass by on their way to and from the field. It was selected based on its ability to provide high-powered illumination with cutoff to avoid glare. The unit head pivots 180 deg. to provide the exact angle needed for the application.
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