In a power play for the world of arena architecture, HOK has announced it will acquire Kansas City's 360 Architecture. Their union marks HOK's return to the world of sports and entertainment facility design, possibly to compete with Populous, another Kansas City-based firm that spun off from HOK Sports Venue Event in 2008. HOK started HOK Sports in 1983, but that firm (now called Populous) no longer has any affiliation with St. Louis-based HOK. The global design firm's merger with 360 creates the largest architectural firm in Missouri. “Joining HOK enables us to take advantage of an exceptionally strong global platform and to expand our sports facility design practice while offering our clients additional expertise in other markets,” 360 Principal Brad Schrock said in a statement. “This also brings HOK, a global design leader in many building types, into the heart of Kansas City.” 360’s current projects include the Rogers Place arena for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, and a new stadium for the Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes. Major competitors for the new HOK sports design giant will likely remain Dallas-based HKS and Seattle’s NBBJ. The two had been short-listed to design a major new stadium for the Detroit Red Wings, but developer Ilitch Properties selected none other than 360 Architecture as lead designer and architect of record on that project. Meanwhile HKS is tackling a new Vikings arena in Minneapolis, while NBBJ fields Lexington, KY’s storied Rupp Arena.
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According to LA Downtown News, while AEG's proposed downtown football stadium, Farmers Field, remains on hold, the city's Bureau of Engineering will most likely be holding a three-team design competition to rebuild part of its sister project: the LA Convention Center, down the street. AEG's Populous-designed plan for the convention center, whose funding depends on the construction of Farmers Field, calls for demolishing the older of the center's two buildings, the West Hall, and building a new structure that continues to the south, bridging Pico Boulevard. “The plan is shovel-ready at this point,” AEG’s Brad Gessner, told Downtown News. But if that proposal is unable to go ahead by its October 18 deadline, the city is preparing to solicit teams for a "Plan B," a more modest renovation of the existing convention center. Vicki Curry, spokesperson for LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, told AN that the Bureau of Engineering is considering a three firm design competition for this plan, but that its Task Order Solicitation—involving a general request for qualifications— has not yet been released.
Searching for the perfect holiday gift? If AN’s 2013 Holiday Gift Guide choices are not exquisite enough for your recipient’s taste, sport architecture firm Populous has just the right $30 million option. The Kansas City-based company, whose commissions include Yankee Stadium in New York City and London’s Olympic Stadium, will give one big spender their own custom backyard stadium this holiday season. The offer was created for Robb Report’s Ultimate Gift List this year, a list of luxury presents for the world’s wealthiest, said Ballpark Digest. After at least 12 months of design and construction, the personal field will be equipped with the electronic displays and the technology to host and play nearly any sport. A gift stadium by Populous will be 40- to 50-yards long, about half the size of a regulation American football field. Fiber optics in the artificial grass playing green field will set regulation field lines with light, giving multisport options. Surrounding players on all sides, 12 to 20 feet tall LED screens will have the abilities to countdown and keep score, project backdrop environments of famous sporting grounds, and fill the stadium with virtual fans, in addition to the 100 real seats of a built box. If weather is a problem, the stadium can be constructed with a retractable roof. If the client desires a more authentic playing experience, machine-made rain, wind, and snow may be created. Populous’ electronic wonder field is meant for personal use, with technology to mimic the function of a true stadium, not to achieve it. The goal is to create “a custom, premium environment for a select number of people,” said the firm’s Associate Principle Ryan Sickman. And regardless of the population of a practice, scrimmage or match, its sound system can recreate the cheers, songs, and hecklings of a professional game.
Global architecture and design practice Populous, designer of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, has been selected as architect for a large new stadium in the compact town of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, a city of just over 1 million people about 650 miles south of Moscow. Designed to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018, the stadium is Populous' fourth design for a sports venue in Russia and will contain an anticipated 45,000 seats under a cloud-like, seemingly-floating canopy. Set along the Don River, the Rostov Stadium design takes into account the surrounding landscape by drawing inspiration from kurgans—archeological mounds of earth formed along river banks and once used for pagan rituals—with artificial hills pushed up around the stadium's perimeter. Populous took an environmentally conscious stance in their proposal, aiming to protect wetlands south of the River near the stadium site. The stadium itself is sheltered by a balloon-like roof consisting of two long panels around its perimeter—each resembling a smooth, curving paintbrush stroke from above—with a central opening allowing light onto the playing field. External paths and entrances to the venue continue this theme with more curves and soft winding lines. For the World Cup, the stadium will have a capacity of 45,000 seats, which will later be scaled down to 25,000 seats.
Eleven finalists including Zaha Hadid, Toyo Ito, SANAA, and UN Studio have been announced for a major new stadium project in Japan. Tadao Ando, jury chair for the Japan Sports Council competition, revealed the contending designs for the New National Stadium, narrowing the field from the original 46 entries. First, second, and third place prizes were secretly selected on Wednesday, November 7th, but the winners won't be named until a ceremony is held later this month. While we anxiously await the final announcement, take a look at the proposed stadium designs by each team. Scheduled for completion in 2018, the stadium is already slated to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup and will also be offered as a site for the FIFA World Cup, the IAAF World Championships, and a range of entertainment events. The stadium could even play host to the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics if Japan is chosen as their location.
LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's "Vision Team," a group of eight architects consulting on the city's planned football stadium and convention center expansion have issued a damning report on the latter project, reports the LA Daily News. The center is being designed by Populous and developed by AEG. "This is not good city design," Norman Millar, dean of Woodbury University School of Architecture, and a Vision Team member, told the Daily News this week. Among the team's complaints, they worry about having visitors enter the new hall through a dark passage created by bridging the building over Pico Boulevard. The team also frets about possible fumes under the tunnel, the configuration of the center's huge ballroom, and the amount of natural light that would enter the building. The Vision Team also includes Hitoshi Abe, chairman of Architecture & Urban Design at UCLA; Scott Johnson of Johnson Fain; Joseph Coriaty, a partner at Frederick Fisher and Partner; and Paul Danna, principal at SOM. The group has met at least three times. Villaraigosa's spokesman Peter Sanders told the Daily News that the mayor knew about the Vision Team's concerns. "We believe we have the best plan given the constraints that exist," Sanders wrote. The project's EIR goes before LA City Council tomorrow.
Big-time sports architect Dan Meis, who has designed, among other projects, LA's Staples Center and Seattle's Safeco Field, is on the move yet again. In the span of just a few years he has shuffled from his own practice to Aedas, then back to his own firm to Populous, to his own firm again, and now he is joining Australian firm Woods Bagot Sport to become its global director. Exciting opportunties? Commitment issues? "I'm not crazy about having been with a couple of different firms in a short time period," admitted Meis. But he sees it differently: "For me it feels like I’ve been in the same practice all along. It just feels like I've been associated with a lot of firms." So why Woods Bagot? Not only has the firm made a strong commitment to sports (an issue he had at Aedas when the economy took a hit), but Meis won't have to compete internally to work on major projects (a problem he ran into at Populous). The final straw at Populous came when the firm took on plans for a new LA Convention Center by AEG, putting him into direct conflict with one of his existing projects, a football stadium for LA's City of Industry. (AEG is proposing a competing stadium in Downtown LA.) Meanwhile Meis will get to continue working on a number of his recent projects, including the City of Industry football stadium, a soccer arena in Rome, and an arena for the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
It’s that time again. With the economy still gasping, it’s time for struggling firms to get bought by behemoths and for other firms to split up. Among the rumors we’ve been hearing, LA firm Kanner Architects is rumored to be close to being swallowed by New York firm Ronnette Riley. Dan Meis, who only just recently left Populous to go off on his own, may soon get bought out, although we’re not sure by whom. And after Phoenix-based Will Bruder’s partners recently bought him out his firm Will Bruder + Partners is now split into two firms called WORKSBUREAU and Will Bruder Architects. Why can’t we just stay together anymore? (Image: chirastar/Flickr)
Yesterday AEG unveiled its design for a 200,000 square foot convention center expansion in downtown Los Angeles. Replacing a wing of the LA Convention Center, the new structure, called LACOEX (LA Convention and Exhibition Hall) and designed by Populous (which, it so happens, is also designing Majestic Realty's proposed stadium in the City of Industry) the elevated center would stretch over Pico Boulevard and connect directly to the company’s planned football stadium, the Gensler-designed Farmers Field. The highly graphic, glass paneled exterior would be complemented by restaurants and patios outside the base of the hall,. The plan, of course, won't go forward until LA gets a new NFL team for the new stadium/convention complex. Look for an update with more information soon.
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Custom canopy scores big at Kansas City’s new soccer stadium.Kansas City’s Livestrong Sporting Park opened in June as the city’s first soccer-centric stadium and the new home of the Sporting Kansas City, the soccer team formerly known as the Kansas City Wizards. To make the arena both athlete- and fan-friendly, architect Populous envisioned a soaring roof canopy designed to evoke the arc of a soccer ball flying across the field. The team considered building the canopy with ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) pillows, but desired a look more in line with glass panels. The weight of glass would have significantly increased the amount of steel substructure, in turn raising the canopy’s price. Working with Michigan-based architectural canopy design, engineering, and fabrication company Duo-Gard, the team began instead to develop a high-performance polycarbonate glazing system that minimized weight and maximized light transmission onto the field. In addition to its impact-resistance and long-span structural requirements, the canopy had to meet several programmatic demands. The architects wanted to create an intimate environment that would amplify the crowd’s noise, so the canopy had to cover every seat. While it would provide some shade for the audience, the structure also had to have enough light transmittance to maintain the natural grass preferred by Major League Soccer. The polycarbonate canopy would curve around the more than 1,800-foot stadium circumference, ranging from 25 to 70 feet in depth with a 1/12 pitch and 12-foot spans between structural members. “This kind of span hadn’t been done before by anyone with polycarbonate at a slight slope,” said Duo-Gard president David Miller. “Our engineers broke ground with this.” More than 100 feet above the ground, the stadium’s steel structure cantilevers 95 feet and supports a metal deck that transitions to the two-tiered clear polycarbonate deck, which is built with a 36-inch step-down to form a cavity for lighting and sound equipment. The 25mm triple-wall polycarbonate glazing allows 80 percent light transmission and integrates Duo-Gard’s 3 ½-inch aluminum profile at 32 inches on center to minimize shading. The framing system incorporates a custom engineered base plate, pressure plate, and curved cap that conceals canopy fasteners. According to Frank Kosciolek, Duo-Gard’s engineering manager, typical canopy systems have a 7-inch profile at 24 inches on center, creating more shadows and requiring an additional steel purlin. The team estimated that elimination of the extra purlin resulted in a 35 percent reduction in the amount of metal used. The system also met one and a half times of its structural loading requirements during testing. As home to the largest polycarbonate stadium canopy in North America, Kansas City’s sports scene is enjoying its moment in the sun.
It turns out that sports arena architects Populous (formerly HOK Sport) have bagged not just one, but two of the biggest hypothetical projects in Los Angeles. Not only has the firm designed Majestic Realty's proposed football stadium for the City of Industry, but they were just named by AEG as designers of its competition: The LA Convention Center's relocated West Hall, which would be coupled with Gensler's new downtown football stadium if that project gets approval. Both projects, of course, have yet to receive that elusive approved status and, perhaps of greater concern, LA still has no football team, but it's still a coup for Populous, whose Dan Meis would not comment on the company's new commission. "We are laying a bit low on commenting on this given we have been involved with both projects," he told AN. Still a Populous spokesperson told the LA Times, "We're not currently performing work for a competing NFL stadium in Los Angeles," and that the firm had Majestic's blessing. Only time will tell if this situation gets tense.
Basketball fans in Louisville gathered Downtown Sunday on 10.10.10 for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the just-finished $238 million KFC Yum! Center designed by Populous architects, formerly HOK Sports, Venue, Event. The 22,000 seat venue is the home of the University of Louisville Cardinals. Populous designed the arena to reflect Louisville's geographic situation at the Falls of the Ohio, a natural waterfall on the Ohio River around which the city was founded. An undulating roof cascades toward the river with a single fluid gesture. An adjacent street under the Second Street Clark Memorial Bridge has been converted into a pedestrian space featuring an installation by New York-based light artist Leni Schwendinger. A public ceremony will take place this evening to unveil the light display incorporated into the bridge structure. Schwendinger recently completed a light installation under a bridge at the New York Port Authority building and has been selected as part of a team to redesign Times Square. City officials have pinned redevelopment hopes on the building and have already seen development spurred by the investment. Several historic whiskey warehouses dating to the 1860s in surrounding blocks are being renovated to provide housing, retail, and entertainment space.