Architecture practice Populous has announced plans for a $50 million esports and entertainment venue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dubbed Fusion Arena, the project will be the home of the Philadelphia Fusion esports franchise as the largest esports venue in the western hemisphere. Seating up to 3,500 guests, the project will host a variety of live entertainment programming and events. The arena was made to be the first of its kind for next-generation consumers.
Populous: The Latest Architecture and News
In 776 BC, the Olympic Games of antiquity were hosted at the Olympia stadium in Peloponnese, Greece, an arena widely believed to be the world’s oldest stadium. The elongated U-shaped track and stand had a capacity of up to 45,000 people.
Almost 3000 years later, and the typology of the sports stadium continues to act as a gathering place for tens of thousands of eager spectators. As populations, and indeed revenue generated from sporting events continues to increase around the world, the design of sports stadiums is destined to follow suit.
The Bristol Arena site faces yet another turn of events, as Zaha Hadid Architects and property investor Legal & General have released plans for a large housing development next to Temples Meads Station. The site is one of two proposed locations for the Bristol Arena, a project on hold for more than 15 years as Bristol City Council continues to debate its location. The proposal by Zaha Hadid Architects would include office blocks, a 345 room hotel, conference center and over 500 homes.
I hope you’ve caught your breath after this year’s FIFA World Cup. France’s win in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium marked the end of an era; the last World Cup with a classic format. After the 2022 Winter tournament in Qatar, the competition will be expanded to 48 teams (rather than the current 32).
As an industry populated by creators, the business of design is continually reconsidered and reshaped by processes of reinvention and experimentation. Rarely content with yesterday’s innovations in anything from modeling software to building materials, architects naturally look for strategic ways to gain maximum advantage in both building and business. Taking just such a creative approach to the challenge of improving athletic venues within the stringent time frame of a team’s offseason, the dominant Kansas City-based sports architecture firm Populous recently launched a standalone service that employs the efficiency advantages of a design-build firm to simplify and expand the process of implementing stadium upgrades without any disruption to the fan experience.
The Madison Square Garden Company has unveiled images of its proposed MSG Sphere in London, a next-generation venue seeking to “redefine live entertainment” through an array of technology geared towards transformative, immersive connections between artists and audiences.
To accompany the London scheme, an MSG Sphere will also be located in Las Vegas. Both are to be designed by Populous, a global firm responsible for a large number of stadia and arenas across the globe.
Last week, the City of Arlington, Texas announced plans to collaborate with Populous in transforming the city’s convention center into North America’s first Esports Stadium. This 100,000-square-foot venue will be designed to draw in both competitive players and fans from around the world, and create the most immersive experience in the live esports market.
Seattle’s historic KeyArena is set to receive a $600 million renovation that will transform the venue into the region’s “premier sports and entertainment destination” as part of plans to launch the city’s first-ever NHL team.
Designed by Populous, the renovation will open up the arena to its surroundings, specifically the 72-acre Seattle Center, site of the 1962 World’s Fair and home to the currently under-renovation Seattle Space Needle. As part of the project, the sports venue will be rebranded as “The Arena at Seattle Center.”
The Madison Square Garden Company, the eponymous group behind New York City’s iconic concert and events venue, has revealed plans to building two new arenas on opposite sides of the world that will both be shaped like giant spheres.
To be branded as MSG Spheres, the venues will be located in Las Vegas and in London, and will be designed by Populous, the Kansas City-based firm responsible for a large number of stadia and arenas across the globe.
Clarification Update 10/4/17: Populous and Egis were selected in 2016 to collaborate on the Paris 2024 bid; this news piece reflects the bid’s approval by the International Olympic Committee. However, the team to lead the next planning phase for Paris 2024 has yet to be decided. Stay tuned for further information.
The Paris 2024 Olympic bid, featuring planning for 38 Olympics and Paralympic venues across the city by the team of Populous and engineering consultants Egis, has received approval as part of the International Olympic Committee’s naming of the 2024 host city.
Populous, in collaboration with Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects and BuroHappold Engineering, have submitted their design proposal for the new 12,000-person Bristol Arena to the Bristol City Council for planning approval. Following the consultation with the city and with the public, “plans have been developed further to show how event spaces in front of the arena can be used for performances, outdoor cinema, festivals, and markets.”
Before it was even completed, the legacy of the Populous-designed stadium for the London 2012 Olympics was a thorny issue. Originally designed to be largely dismantled after the games, a sudden interest in the future stadium from local football teams led to an about-face by the government, resulting in a renewed brief for a design that could be adapted to host football matches. What followed after the games was recently described by The Guardian's sports correspondent Owen Gibson as "a huge, expensive engineering puzzle" in which "to all intents and purposes, it has been completely rebuilt."
FC Barcelona has announced 14 teams in the running for two planned overhauls of their facilities at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, including alterations to their main stadium and the rebuilding of the Palau Blaugrana, the nearby arena owned by the club and used primarily for basketball and handball. The alterations to the two buildings are part of a larger €600 million project, known officially as "Nou Espai Barça," which seeks to improve the club's entire campus, also adding an ice skating rink, new offices, 5,000 parking spaces and improving the outdoor space surrounding the facilities. The Nou Espai Barça project was approved by the club's fanbase last April after a 72% vote in favor of the proposal.
The list names eight teams - including BIG, Populous, HKS and Arup Sport - in the running for the overhaul of the stadium itself, which will involve the addition of almost 6,000 seats to bring the stadium's total capacity to 105,000, increasing the stadium's lead as the largest football stadium in Europe. It will also include a complete redesign of the lowest seating tier to offer improved views, and the addition of a roof over the terraces. Also named are the six teams in the running to rebuild the Palau Blaugrana.
Populous has unveiled plans for a new Chargers football stadium that is meant to capture the "essence of San Diego," California. The 68,000-seat stadium, planned to be built on the Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley, will feature a "kinetic skin" that will mimic the sound of the ocean as it sways in the wind.
"We wanted to make sure as a team that we were making this a really authentic place and people who see it will say, 'That represents our city - that represents where the Chargers should be. They've been here over 50 years and they should stay here.' This stadium represents that. This is an expression of San Diego," Populous senior principal Scott Radecic told the San Diego Union Tribune.
British football club Tottenham Hotspur has released plans for a new stadium designed by Populous. Planned to be built in the London borough of Haringey, the "visually dramatic" 61,000-seat proposal is designed to host both English and American football. If approved, it will feature a state-of-the-art retractable pitch and a 17,000 capacity single tier end stand that will be the UK's largest.
Beyond the field, the new stadium will feature a permanent visitors center and arrivals hub with an interactive museum to celebrate club history and local heritage, a cinema, the club megastore, ticket office and café. At the top of the stadium will be a "Sky Walk" showcasing vistas of London.
Taking inspiration from Charles and Ray Eames’ House of Cards, London-based practice Populous have developed an installation for the inaugural World Architecture Festival (WAF) exhibition. Built from "hundreds of super-sized multiples of a single ‘W' form, the dramatic seven metre high installation forms the centrepiece" of an exhibition which seeks to showcase "the very best in world architecture." This year, 350 projects have been shortlisted from some the world’s best architects and designers.
The Milwaukee Bucks have just unveiled Populous' initial renderings of their downtown revitalization plan for Milwaukee’s sports and entertainment district, anchored by a multi-purpose arena. The first step in their vision, the arena hopes to be a modern expression of Wisconsin’s heritage and a vibrant cornerstone to the growth of downtown Milwaukee.
A total of eleven projects have been shortlisted for RIBA Yorkshire 2015 Awards, featuring buildings by Populous, HLM, and Studio Gedye. All shortlisted buildings will now be assessed by a regional jury. Regional winners will then be considered for a RIBA National Award in recognition of their architectural excellence, the results of which will place some projects in the running for the 2015 RIBA Stirling Prize.
See the complete list of shortlisted projects after the break.