Business Spotlight: Frankfort plant had a hand in Mercedes Benz Stadium construction

Centria, which has a facility in Frankfort, produced the triangular panels on Mercedes Benz Stadium, home of Feb. 3’s Super Bowl LIII. (Photo submitted)

While Frankfort didn’t have a team in the Super Bowl played earlier this month in the Atlanta Falcons’ Mercedes Benz Stadium, a local company was deeply involved in manufacturing the panels that covered the $1.9 billion facility.

The Centria facility here, according to spokesman Rob Rutherford, provided 34 percent of the square footage for the project, or 625,000 square feet. The total value of the project to Centria was $4 million.

“The triangular areas,” Rutherford said, “are referred to as facets.

“We supplied the Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs): Versawall, Versapanel and industry-leading Formawall Dimension Series, produced in Sheridan, Arizona — along with single-skin roll-formed panels and accessories from Frankfort.”

Most of the Frankfort material, according to Rutherford, was flat steel sheets coated in various custom, high-end mica paint finishes in silversmith, medium gray, chromium gray and dark gray.

“We also supplied our concealed-fastener panel, IW Series, manufactured at Frankfort (roll-formed product),” he said.

The project took just more than four years to complete, having started in October 2014 and completed last November. The Centria dealer that installed the project was Crown Corr Inc.

“They are the first call for panels and glass installation on any large, complex projects in the U.S., including most professional sports arenas and stadiums,” Rutherford said.

According to its website, Crown Corr Inc. is a subcontractor specializing in glass and aluminum curtain wall, metal panels and custom metal roofing building enclosure systems.

About the stadium

Centria was a part of constructing a state-of-the-art facility with the Atlanta stadium.

James Billington writes in the Jan. 20 issue of Stadia about the Mercedes-Benz Stadium:

“If much of the last half-century of American football stadium design can be broken down into distinct eras — be it domed stadia in the 1970s and 1980s, retractable roof stadia in the 1990s and 2000s, or the currently emerging wave of transparent-roof venues — Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium might be considered a more unique outlier. It’s not so much that the design by HOK represents a new era, but rather a reinvention of past and present.”

HOK is the largest U.S.-based architectural engineering firm and the fourth largest interior design firm. Formerly it was Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, reflecting the last names of the three Washington University, St. Louis, School of Architecture graduates who started the firm in 1955.

“The objective from the beginning has been to break the mold and do something different in stadium design,” said HOK principal Bill Johnson. “We felt that the industry had plateaued, especially with regard to stadia with operable roofs. I think there was an innovation curve, and then it all just sort of leveled out and started to look the same.”

Billington continues: “The home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons — as well as the MLS’ Atlanta United and a succession of concerts — Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s ambition also reflects changing industry needs. Eye-catching architectural experience is more necessary than ever to attract fans.”

“The buildings are being asked to really be a spectacle,” Johnson said.

“Fans now have a tendency to want to stay at home. They have so much opportunity for content off their mobile devices and the broadcasts are so good, that there’s a disincentive to come out to the game. The buildings are being asked to have a degree of showmanship that’s becoming part of the expectations.”

Visit the Mercedes-Benz Stadium or Stadia websites for more information and images of this project in which Frankfort’s Centria had a hand.

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