Can you protect the playing field's surface for non-sporting events without removing it from the stadium? 360 Architecture suggest it might be done. Will their idea be implemented in Atlanta?
Work on the new Atlanta Falcons stadium is still in conceptual stage, but already the outcome seems very interesting. Apart from two futuristic visions of the stadium overall (Solarium and Panteon) we can now see the latest idea by 360 Architecture: pitch sliding underneath for storage during non-sporting events.
The concept called 'Magic Carpet' envisages the turf being divided into segments and one by one transported vertically up/down by a mobile platform in the centre, acting as an elevator. Even more, architects think of the idea as a chance to make the players' entry more dramatic. All shown in the animation below:
While it seems possible, sustainability and cost of this solution remain unclear. On the one hand it seems easier to implement than a pitch sliding outside the stadium. But then on the other hand, it's not addressing the same issue. Pitches sliding outside are dedicated to stadia with natural grass, while this idea may prove feasible only for artificial turf due to its storage under ground, with compromised ventilation and light access.
So is the idea worth pursuing? It may turn out that way as problems with maintaining synthetic fields are also more common. Despite artificial grass being possible to roll and transport outside for concerts or other events, it's quality may deteriorate significantly after many operations of this kind. Automated system that hides the grass may be a way to prolong the lifespan of synthetic turfs.