The Georgia World Congress Center Authority announced April 30 that it has signed a $35-million contract with 360 Architecture of Kansas City, Mo., to design a $1-billion, operable-roof stadium for the Atlanta Falcons. The GWCCA owns and operates the Georgia Dome and other downtown properties.

"360's creativity and qualifications made them the best fit for this project, and we believe they will put us in the best position to deliver the ultimate game day experience for our fans," Atlanta Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay said in a press statement.

GWCCA's announcement also quoted Bill Johnson of 360 Architecture, who added: "We have the opportunity to set the bar for dynamic, flexible and sustainable stadiums by which all others will be measured."

In making the announcement, the Atlanta stadium authority unveiled some of the bold design concepts that 360 Architecture presented as part of its bid to win the contract. Termed as the Solarium and the Pantheon, the concepts both feature operable roof systems, but with considerably different mechanisms.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank will fund $800 million of the project's cost, while the city's development authority, Invest Atlanta, will finance the remainder with $200 million in revenue bonds secured by a portion of the city's hotel tax.

According to documents posted on its website, the GWCCA is seeking to execute a construction contract by May 31, 2013, and to determine a guaranteed maximum-price contract by June 2014.

The agency plans to have the project completed in time for the 2017 football season.