Populous is a global architectural and design practice specializing in sports facilities, arenas and convention centers, as well as the planning and design of major special events.
Number of locations
Kansas City (US)
New York City, San Francisco, Denver, Boston, Knoxville, Norman, Pittsburgh (US)
New Delhi (India)
Populous was created through a management buyout in January 2009, becoming independently owned and operated. It is reported to be one of the largest architecture firms in the world. Populous formerly operated as HOK Sport Venue Event, which was part of the HOK Group.
In 1983, HOK under Jerry Sincoff created a sports group (initially called the Sports Facilities Group and later changed to HOK Sport Venue Event). The firm initially consisted of eight architects in Kansas City, and grew to employ 185 people by 1996.
On several projects, HOK Sport had teamed with international design practice LOBB Partnership, which maintained offices in London, England, and Brisbane, Australia. On HOK Sport's 15th anniversary in November 1998, the firm merged with LOBB. The new practice retained headquarters in all three cities.
The Kansas City, Missouri, office was first based in the city's Garment District in the Lucas Place office building. In 2005, it moved into its headquarters at 300 Wyandotte in the River Market neighborhood in a new building it designed, on land developed as an urban renewal project through tax incentives from the city's Planned Industrial Expansion Authority. It was the first major company to relocate to the neighborhood in several decades. In March 2009, HOK Sport Venue Event changed its name to Populous after a managers’ buyout by HOK Group.
The company is one of several Kansas City-based sports design firms that trace their roots to Kivett and Myers which designed the Truman Sports Complex which was one of the first modern large single purpose sports stadiums (previously, stadiums were designed for multipurpose use). Other firms with sports design presence in Kansas City that trace their roots to Kivett include Ellerbe Becket Inc. and HNTB Corp.. 360 Architecture is also based in Kansas City.
"Retro" era of baseball parksEdit
Populous is credited for spearheading a new era of baseball park design in the 1990s, beginning with Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore. At Camden Yards, and in other stadiums built by Populous soon thereafter, such as Coors Field in Denver and Progressive Field in Cleveland, the ballpark was designed to incorporate aesthetic elements of the city's history and older "classic ballparks." Camden Yards's red brick facade emulates the massive B&O Warehouse that dominates the right field view behind Eutaw Street, whereas Progressive Field's glass and steel exterior "call to mind the drawbridges and train trestles that crisscross the nearby Cuyahoga River." Starting with Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati in 2003, a number of Populous Sport's stadiums featured more contemporary and even futuristic designs. Subsequent stadium exteriors featuring this motif opened in Washington and Minnesota.
In addition to moving away from the concrete exteriors of the "cookie-cutter" multi-purpose stadiums that preceded the new parks, Populous incorporated other innovative touches: natural grass playing surfaces (instead of artificial turf), asymmetrical field dimensions, various park-specific idiosyncrasies (like Tal's Hill in Houston), and less foul territory that would keep fans farther from the diamond. And because the stadiums were designed for baseball instead of several sports, the sightlines were "uniformly excellent."
Camden Yards was hugely popular with baseball fans, and its success convinced many cities to invest public funds in their own new ballparks to help revitalize struggling urban neighborhoods. From 1992 to 2012, HOK Sport/Populous were the lead architects on 14 Major League Baseball stadiums and helped renovate four existing stadiums.
Populous's designs across Major League Baseball have become so prevalent that some critics have asserted that the distinctiveness that was originally found in early "retro" ballparks is impossible to maintain: "There are nearly 20 [new ballparks] around the league, [so] their heterogeneity has come to seem altogether homogenous." Whereas "classic" ballparks like Fenway Park were given strange dimensions simply because of the limitations provided by the plots of land on which the parks were built, new stadiums do not feature such restrictions. One sportswriter said the attempt to emulate the old parks in this way is "contrived."
In addition, a number of commentators have criticized what they see as a tendency to cater new ballparks toward wealthier ticket buyers, such as with expanded use of luxury suites instead of cheaper, conventional seating. Several writers have noted that upper deck seating at new ballparks may actually be farther away from the field than in the older parks, partly as a result of these new upper decks being pushed higher by rows of luxury suites.
One writer in The New Yorker said it is "not quite right to credit or blame Populous" for trends in their new stadiums—as it is ultimately team owners that plan what they want in future stadiums—but they "certainly enabled" such changes.
In early 2018 Populous, together with Madison Square Garden Company, announced plans to construct two grandiose entertainment arenas: Sphere Las Vegas and Sphere London. According to plans, both vast venues will be futuristically designed and equipped with advanced acoustic and visual technologies. While some, including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, support the development of the London Venue, others are concerned about the feasibility of the plans. Chris Kyriakakis, audio signal processing professor at the Los Angeles USC Viterbi School of Engineering, foresees serious acoustic problems due to the venue's spherical shape. Additional criticism has come from the property industry where claims have been made that the dedicated plot could accommodate up to 1,400 new homes in an area in which there is a shortage of affordable housing.
- Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida – NFL Miami Dolphins, MLB Florida Marlins (1987)
- Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago – Chicago White Sox (1991)
- Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore – Baltimore Orioles (1992)
- Progressive Field, Cleveland – Cleveland Indians (1994)
- Coors Field, Denver, Colorado – Colorado Rockies (1995)
- Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California (renovation of Anaheim Stadium, joint project with Walt Disney Imagineering) – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (1998)
- Comerica Park, Detroit – Detroit Tigers (2000)
- Minute Maid Park, Houston – Houston Astros (2000)
- Oracle Park, San Francisco – San Francisco Giants (2000)
- PNC Park, Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Pirates (2001)
- Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati – Cincinnati Reds (2003)
- Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia (joint project with Ewing Cole Cherry Brott of Philadelphia) – Philadelphia Phillies (2004)
- Petco Park, San Diego – San Diego Padres (2004)
- Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri – St. Louis Cardinals (2006)
- Nationals Park, Washington, D.C. – Washington Nationals (2008)
- Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City – Kansas City Royals (renovations in 1997 and 2009)
- Citi Field, Willets Point, Queens, New York – New York Mets (2009)
- Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York – New York Yankees (2009)
- Target Field, Minneapolis – Minnesota Twins (2010)
- Marlins Park, Miami – Miami Marlins (2012)
- jetBlue Park at Fenway South, Fort Myers, Florida – Boston Red Sox Spring Training facility (2012)
- SunTrust Park, Cumberland, Georgia (Atlanta postal address) – Atlanta Braves (2017)
- Stanley Coveleski Regional Stadium, South Bend, Indiana – A South Bend Silver Hawks (1987)
- FNB Field, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – AA Harrisburg Senators (1987)
- Sahlen Field, Buffalo, New York – AAA Buffalo Bisons (1988)
- Northwestern Medicine Field, Geneva, Illinois – A Kane County Cougars (1991)
- Principal Park, Des Moines, Iowa - AAA Iowa Cubs (1992)
- Harbor Park, Norfolk, Virginia – AAA Norfolk Tides (1993)
- Smith's Ballpark, Salt Lake City – AAA Salt Lake Bees (1994)
- Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Durham, North Carolina – AAA Durham Bulls (1995)
- Victory Field, Indianapolis – AAA Indianapolis Indians (1996)
- The Hangar, Lancaster, California – A Lancaster JetHawks (1996)
- San Manuel Stadium, San Bernardino, California – A Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino (1997)
- Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park, Charleston, South Carolina – A Charleston RiverDogs (1997)
- LeLacheur Park, Lowell, Massachusetts – A Lowell Spinners (1998)
- Chukchansi Park, Fresno, California – AAA Fresno Grizzlies (2002)
- Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Florida – AA Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (2003)
- Bright House Field, Clearwater, Florida – A Clearwater Threshers (2004)
- Trustmark Park, Pearl, Mississippi – AA Mississippi Braves (2005)
- Dow Diamond, Midland, Michigan – A Great Lakes Loons (2007)
- Arvest Ballpark, Springdale, Arkansas – AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (2008)
- Coca-Cola Park, Allentown, Pennsylvania – AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs (2008)
- Parkview Field, Fort Wayne, Indiana – A Fort Wayne TinCaps (2009)
- ONEOK Field, Tulsa, Oklahoma – AA Tulsa Drillers (2010)
- NBT Bank Stadium, Syracuse, New York – AAA Syracuse Chiefs (1997)
- Community Maritime Park, Pensacola, Florida – AA Pensacola Blue Wahoos (2012)
- Southwest University Park, El Paso, Texas – AAA El Paso Chihuahuas (2014)
- Spirit Communications Park, Columbia, South Carolina (2016)
- Baum Stadium, Fayetteville, Arkansas – Arkansas Razorbacks (1996)
- Ray Fisher Stadium Renovation – Wilpon Baseball and Softball Complex, Ann Arbor, Michigan – Michigan Wolverines (2008)
- Bryson Field at Boshamer Stadium, Chapel Hill, North Carolina – North Carolina Tar Heels (2009)
- Carolina Stadium, Columbia, South Carolina – University of South Carolina Gamecocks (2009)
- Triton Ballpark Renovation, La Jolla, California – University of California, San Diego Tritons (2015)
- BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee – Milwaukee Bucks (1988)
- United Center, Chicago – Chicago Bulls (1995)
- Pepsi Center, Denver – Denver Nuggets (1999)
- State Farm Arena, Atlanta – Atlanta Hawks (1999)
- Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Canada – Toronto Raptors (1999)
- Toyota Center, Houston, Texas – Houston Rockets (2003)
- Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey – New Jersey Nets (2007)
- Amway Center, Orlando, Florida – Orlando Magic (2010)
- Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee – Milwaukee Bucks (2018)
- BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee – Marquette Golden Eagles (1988)
- Kohl Center, Madison, Wisconsin – Wisconsin Badgers (1998)
- Mizzou Arena – Columbia, Missouri – Missouri Tigers (2005)
- CFE Arena, Orlando, Florida – UCF Knights (2007)
- KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Kentucky – Louisville Cardinals (2010)
- Ford Center, Evansville, Indiana – Evansville Purple Aces (2011)
- Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee – Marquette Golden Eagles (2018)
- John Smith's Stadium – Huddersfield, England, UK – Huddersfield (1994)
- University of Bolton Stadium – Bolton, England, UK – Bolton (1997)
- Sir Bobby Robson Stand at Portman Road – Ipswich, England, UK – Ipswich (2002)
- Emirates Stadium – London, UK – Arsenal (2006)
- Stadium:mk – Milton Keynes, UK – MK Dons (2007)
- Wembley Stadium – London, UK – England (joint project with Foster and Partners) (2007)
- Fossetts Farm Stadium – Southend, UK – Southend United (2011)
- City of Manchester Stadium expansion – Manchester, UK – Manchester City (2015)
- New Queens Park – London, UK – Queens Park Rangers (2018)
- Northumberland Development Project – London, UK – Tottenham (2018)
- Estadio Omnilife – Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico – Guadalajara (2010)
- Estadio BBVA Bancomer – Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico – C.F. Monterrey (2014)
- Estádio da Luz – Lisbon, Portugal – Benfica (2003)
- Estádio Algarve – Loulé, Portugal – S.C. Farense, Louletano D.C. (2004)
- Sahlen's Stadium – Rochester, New York – Rochester Rhinos (2006)
- Dick's Sporting Goods Park – Commerce City, Colorado – Colorado Rapids (2007)
- Children's Mercy Park – Kansas City, Kansas – Sporting Kansas City (2011)
- BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston, Texas – Houston Dynamo (2012)
- Orlando City Stadium – Orlando, Florida – Orlando City SC (2017)
- Audi Field – District of Columbia – D.C. United (2018)
- Allianz Field – Saint Paul, Minnesota – Minnesota United (2019)
- Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida – Miami Dolphins; University of Miami football; Orange Bowl; Super Bowl XXIII, XXIX, XXXVI, XLI and XLIV (1987)
- TIAA Bank Field – Jacksonville Jaguars; Gator Bowl; Georgia vs. Florida football game; Super Bowl XXXIX (1995)
- Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina – Carolina Panthers; Meineke Car Care Bowl (1996)
- Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida – Tampa Bay Buccaneers; University of South Florida football; Outback Bowl; Super Bowl XXXV and XLIII (1996)
- FedExField, Landover, Maryland – Washington Redskins (1997)
- M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore – Baltimore Ravens (1998)
- Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee – Tennessee Titans; Music City Bowl (1999)
- FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio – Cleveland Browns (1999)
- Heinz Field, Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Steelers; University of Pittsburgh football (2001)
- Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts – New England Patriots (2002)
- NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas – Houston Texans; Texas Bowl; Super Bowl XXXVIII (2002)
- State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona – Arizona Cardinals; Fiesta Bowl; Super Bowl XLII (2006)
- Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City – Kansas City Chiefs (renovations 2007–2010)
- New Era Field (renovation), Orchard Park, New York – Buffalo Bills (2014)
- TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis – Minnesota Golden Gophers football (2009)
- Kyle Field (redevelopment plan), College Station, Texas – Texas A&M Aggies football (2012)
- McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas – Baylor Bears football (2012)
- Etihad Stadium, Melbourne – Carlton Blues; Essendon Bombers; North Melbourne Kangaroos; St Kilda Saints; Western Bulldogs (2000)
- GMBHA Stadium, Geelong, Victoria – Geelong Cats (2010)
- Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast, Queensland – Gold Coast Suns (2011)
- Spotless Stadium, Sydney – Greater Western Sydney Giants (2012)
General purpose arenasEdit
- Bradley Center, Milwaukee – Milwaukee Bucks, Marquette Golden Eagles men's basketball, Milwaukee Iron (1988)
- SNHU Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire (2001)
- The O2, London, UK (formerly the Millennium Dome) (2007)
- Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri (2007)
- 3Arena, Dublin (formerly The O2 Dublin) (2008)
- AMSOIL Arena – Duluth, Minnesota (2010)
- Ford Center – Evansville, Indiana – Used for Professional Ice Hockey, College Basketball, and Music Concerts (2011)
- First Direct Arena, Leeds (2013)
- Philippine Arena – Bulacan, North of Metro Manila, Philippines – multi-purpose arena, plenary hall for Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) Centennial Project – a 50,000 seating capacity (2014)
- Darling Harbour Live Theatre, Sydney, Australia (2016)
- Bristol Arena, Bristol (2020)
- Pepsi Center, Denver (1999)
- Honda Center – Anaheim, California – Anaheim Ducks (1993)
- United Center – Chicago – Chicago Blackhawks (1995)
- Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, Tennessee – Nashville Predators (1996)
- Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, Canada – Toronto Maple Leafs (1999)
- Pepsi Center – Denver – Colorado Avalanche (1999)
- Xcel Energy Center – St. Paul, Minnesota – Minnesota Wild (2000)
- Gila River Arena – Glendale, Arizona – Arizona Coyotes (2003)
- Prudential Center – Newark, New Jersey – New Jersey Devils (2007)
- PPG Paints Arena – Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh Penguins (2010)
- Videotron Centre – Quebec City – Potential new or relocated NHL team and Quebec Remparts, QMJHL (2015; joint project with ABCP Architecture and GLCRM & Associates)
- T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas – Vegas Golden Knights (2016)
- BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee – Milwaukee Admirals (1988)
- GIANT Center – Hershey, Pennsylvania – Hershey Bears (2002)
- Toyota Center – Houston, Texas – Houston Aeros (2003–2013)
- SNHU Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire – Manchester Monarchs (2001)
- Wells Fargo Arena at the Iowa Events Center, Des Moines, Iowa – Iowa Wild (2013–14 season)
- Maverik Center – West Valley City, Utah – Utah Grizzlies, 2002 Winter Olympics (1997)
- Ford Center – Evansville, Indiana – Evansville Ice Men (2011)
- Tropicana Field – St. Petersburg, Florida (joint project with Lescher & Mahoney Sports (Tampa) & Criswell, Blizzard & Blouin Architects (St. Pete)) (1990)
- Ervin J. Nutter Center – Fairborn, Ohio – NCAA Wright State Raiders (1990)
- Alamodome – San Antonio, Texas (1993)
- Hong Kong Stadium – So Kon Po, Hong Kong (1994)
- Manchester Velodrome – Manchester, England, UK (1994)
- Millennium Stadium – Cardiff, UK – Wales football team and Wales rugby union team (1999)
- ANZ Stadium – Sydney, Australia – 2000 Summer Olympics (1999)
- Westpac Stadium Wellington, New Zealand (2000)
- Nanjing Olympic Sports Center – Nanjing, China (2004)
- Croke Park – Dublin, Ireland – Gaelic Athletic Association (2004)
- Queensland Tennis Centre – Tennyson, Queensland, Australia (2009)
- Birmingham–Jefferson Convention Complex multi-purpose facility (convention space/stadium) – Birmingham, Alabama (ground-breaking held September 21, 2009)
- Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility – Motherwell, Scotland, UK (2010)
- Aviva Stadium – Dublin, Ireland – Ireland rugby union team and Ireland football team (joint project with Scott Tallon Walker) (2010)
- Forsyth Barr Stadium – Dunedin, New Zealand (2011)
- London Stadium (Olympic Stadium) - London, UK - West Ham United F.C. and British Athletics (2012)
- Incheon Asiad Main Stadium – Incheon, South Korea
- Taipei Dome – Taipei, Taiwan
- Philippine Arena Multi-purpose facility – Bulacan, Philippines – basketball-themed mixed-use development (2014)
- HARBORcenter – Buffalo, New York – hockey-themed mixed-use development (2015)
- Perth Stadium – Perth, Western Australia (architectural consultants – proposed completion 2018)
- Suncorp Stadium – Brisbane, Queensland, Australia – NRL Brisbane Broncos (2003)
- cbus Super Stadium – Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia – NRL Gold Coast Titans (2008)
- ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia (1999)
- Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand (2010)
- Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand (2011)
- Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand (1999)
- Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (2014)
- Queensland Tennis Centre, Brisbane, Australia (2009)
- Zhuhai Tennis Centre, Zhuhai, China (2015)
- Wimbledon AELTC, London, UK (2009)
- Pennsylvania State University Training Facility – University Park, Pennsylvania (1999)
- GWS Giants Learning Life Centre, Sydney, Australia (2013)
- Texas A&M Bright Football Complex, College Station, U.S. (2015)
- Brisbane Broncos Training, Administration and Community Facility, Brisbane, Australia (2017)
Convention and Civic centersEdit
- University of Houston Athletics and Alumni Center – Houston, Texas (1995)
- Grand River Event Center – Dubuque, Iowa, U.S. (2003)
- Iowa Events Center – Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. (2005)
- Peoria Civic Center Expansion – Peoria, Illinois, U.S. (2007)
- Phoenix Convention Center – Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. (2008)
- Qatar National Convention Centre, Education City, Qatar (2011)
- San Jose McEnery Convention Center Expansion, San Jose, U.S. (2014)
- Darling Harbour Live, Sydney, Australia (2016)
- Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Centre, San Antonio, U.S. (2016)
- World Trade Center Bhubaneswar – Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India (2017)
Music and Entertainment VenuesEdit
- MSG Sphere Las Vegas (groundbreaking in September 2018, scheduled completion 2021)
- 1996 Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
- 2000 Sydney, NSW, Australia
- 2002 Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
- 2004 Athens, Greece
- 2006 Torino, Italy
- 2008 Beijing, China
- 2010 Vancouver, BC, Canada
- 2012 London, England, UK
- 2014 Sochi, Russia
- 2016 Chicago, Illinois, U.S. (Bid; lost to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
- 2014 Glasgow, Scotland
National Football LeagueEdit
- 1983 – Super Bowl XVII – Pasadena, California
- 1986 – Super Bowl XX – New Orleans, Louisiana
- 1990–1992 – NFL American Bowl – Berlin, Germany
- 1994 – Super Bowl XXVIII – Atlanta, Georgia
- 2002–2007 – NFL Pro Bowl – Honolulu, Hawaii
- 2004 – Super Bowl XXXVIII Houston, Texas
- 2005 – Super Bowl XXXIX – Jacksonville, Florida
- 2006 – Super Bowl XL – Detroit, Michigan
- 2007 – Super Bowl XLI – Miami Gardens, Florida
- 2008 – Super Bowl XLII – Glendale, Arizona
- 2009 – Super Bowl XLIII – Tampa, Florida
- 2010 – Super Bowl XLIV – Miami Florida
Major League BaseballEdit
- 1993 – Baltimore, Maryland
- 1997 – Cleveland, Ohio
- 1998 – Denver, Colorado
- 1999 – Boston, Massachusetts
- 2000 – Atlanta, Georgia
- 2001 – Seattle, Washington
- 2002 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- 2003 – Chicago, Illinois
- 2004 – Houston, Texas
- 2005 – Detroit, Michigan
- 2006 – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- 2007 – San Francisco, California
- 2009 – St. Louis, Missouri
- 2013 – Queens, New York City, New York
- 2014 – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Association Football eventsEdit
- 1986 – FIFA/UNICEF World All Star Game – Los Angeles, California, U.S.
- 1994 – FIFA World Cup – 9 US cities
- 1996 – Major League Soccer Inaugural Game – San Jose, California, U.S.
- 1998 – FIFA World Cup – Toulouse, France
- 2002 – FIFA World Cup – Korea/Japan
- 2010 – FIFA World Cup – Johannesburg, South Africa
- 2014 – FIFA World Cup – Natal, Brazil
- 1986 – NBA All Star Game – Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
- 1996 – Democratic National Convention – Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
- 1998 – NCAA Basketball Women's Final Four – Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
- 1999 – Rugby World Cup – Cardiff, Wales, UK
- 2002 – Modern Pentathlon World Championships – Stanford, California, U.S.
- 2004 – The Main Street Event – Houston, Texas, U.S.
- 2005 – US Women's Open Golf – Denver, Colorado, U.S.
- 2005 – Daytona 500, Master Plan – Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.
- 2007 – Breeders' Cup - Oceanport, New Jersey, U.S.
- 2008 – Republican National Convention - St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
- 2015 – Final Four - Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
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