Mercedes-Benz Stadium & The Home Depot Backyard
Kimley-Horn provided design consulting services for the development of Atlanta’s new multipurpose stadium, Mercedes-Benz Stadium—home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC—as well as an adjacent community gathering space, The Home Depot Backyard.
Atlanta’s new stadium features an operable open roof and sweeping views of the city. In addition to serving the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, the facility will host other sports, conventions, and entertainment currently held at the Georgia Dome, including the MLS’s Atlanta United, plus additional marquee events.
Kimley-Horn provided civil engineering services including site design, green infrastructure, extensive utility relocations for the urban infill site, and coordination with review agencies. The state-of-the-art stadium embraces many sustainable features in design, construction, and operation and has become the first professional sports stadium in North America to achieve LEED Platinum certification.
The Kimley-Horn team also provided structural design services for the elevated plaza structure that will act as a pedestrian thoroughfare, linking the stadium with the viaduct street level, the Falcons Landing International Plaza, and the adjacent parking deck. The plaza’s structural system is designed to carry event loading, fire truck loading, and landscape planters, while acting as one of the primary public access points to the stadium. Design of the plaza required close coordination of construction phasing, due to the proximity of the stadium structure to the west and parking deck structure to the east, and accommodation for the crane path that overlapped the plaza structure footprint. Consideration also was necessary to provide access to a roadway below while constructing the plaza above.
Additional structural design services were provided for a pedestrian bridge connecting the parking deck and stadium, an underground detention vault, an above-grade rainwater cistern, site retaining walls, and crash-tested high-speed vehicular barriers. Kimley-Horn also designed all other miscellaneous structural components surrounding the stadium proper.
The Home Depot Backyard
Located just north of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the footprint of the former Georgia Dome, The Home Depot Backyard offers flexible community gathering space for a plethora of events. This 11-acre site was redeveloped to provide a natural turf field for fan activation areas, tailgating space, kid zone playgrounds, and facilitates pedestrian circulation to the stadium.
Kimley-Horn’s design included the Northside Drive streetscape and a plaza that can accommodate food trucks, green markets, game day concessions, and additional seating. Additionally, a prefabricated structural steel pedestrian bridge spans nearly 100 feet, providing pedestrians with safe, direct, and unobstructed access above The Home Depot Backyard vehicular entrance.
Developed by the University of Georgia, TIFTUF is a new selection of hybrid Bermuda grass proven to be drought tolerant and fast growing. This natural turf enhances the area from what was previously an impervious site— providing benefits to stormwater runoff and urban heat island effect. Irrigation for the field is provided by the rainwater reuse system at the LEED-Platinum Mercedes-Benz Stadium, specifically the 680,000-gallon cistern, with backup provided by well water. The grass field and permeable paver hardscape includes stone storage underneath for drainage as well as stormwater management. Material from the Georgia Dome demolition was crushed and left onsite for reuse.
Design challenges include the specification of a sub-base, root zone, and soil mixture to promote vigorous grass growth needed to accommodate vehicular use on the field. In addition, consideration for the concrete demolition debris left in place required extensive cross-discipline and contractor coordination. Vertical circulation for the site, which is lower than the surrounding streets and stadium, was provided in a variety of modes including ramps and stairs that can be activated during events.