ATLANTA -- The board overseeing planning for a new Falcons stadium in downtown Atlanta gave the thumbs-up Tuesday to a design that invokes the giant bird's wings and would feature enormous windows showcasing views of the city.
The approval from the Georgia World Congress Center Authority's board of governors clears the way for the 360 Architecture firm to create a detailed schematic plan. The board also must sign off on that plan, which is expected to be finalized in April 2014.
"I think you can just imagine Monday Night Football and the shot with the city lit up," said 360 Architecture's Bill Johnson during a presentation of the preliminary design, which includes an angular exterior meant to invoke falcon wings and an opening in the seats for giant windows.
The design also aims to minimize end zone seating, maximize sideline seating, and features a "video halo" of screens around the upper part of the stadium, Johnson said.
"We want to provide a unique experience that you can't get on your TV at home," he said.
The design uses opaque materials to protect from sun and heat at the top of the stadium and then uses additional glass to become more transparent toward the bottom to better integrate it into the surrounding area, Johnson said. Just outside the stadium, on the site of the current Georgia Dome, will be an open grassy field that could be used for pre-game activities and or other events on days when games aren't scheduled.
The Authority also approved a joint venture between Holder Construction Company, Hunt Construction Group, H.J. Russell & Company and C.D. Moody Construction Company as the general contractor for the project at its meeting Tuesday.
State and city officials have signed off on the $1 billion, retractable-roof stadium. Officials estimate $200 million in public bonds will be used to build it.