From a pair of ideas floated in April, the Falcons have chosen the official conceptual design for their new stadium, set to begin construction next year. It features an eight-piece roof that will twist closed—essentially an iris diaphragm. We hereby nominate, for a nickname, "The Sphincter."
The design, from 360 Architecture, received the necessary approval from the Georgia World Congress Center Authority today. The project now moves into the schematic design phase, the part where lovely renderings become sanded down to cold functionality by the realities of cost and load-bearing. But they do seem truly set on the petaled roof—360 principal Bill Johnson calls it "primarily an open building that closes instead of a closed building that opens."
The next step is to choose a site for the stadium—the preferred one is just south of the Georgia Dome, but two churches must be acquired before work can start. The city and state are currently in negotiations to buy the land, and if all goes smoothly, ground will be broken in early 2014. The city will pay for $200 million of the construction, and "potentially several times that" to maintain and operate the stadium through 2050.
Some more updated designs, via the Falcons: