Populous (company)

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.

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.[1][2][3] Populous formerly operated as HOK Sport Venue Event, which was part of the HOK Group.

Number of locations
Kansas City (US)
London (UK)
Brisbane (Australia)
New York City, San Francisco, Denver, Boston, Knoxville, Norman, Pittsburgh (US)
Sydney (Australia)
Singapore (Singapore)
New Delhi (India)
Beijing (China)
Dubai (UAE)
Area served
  • Sports, entertainment, events, conference and exhibition centre architecture
  • Interior design
  • Environmental branding
  • Wayfinding
  • Events planning
  • Overlay
  • Masterplanning
  • Landscape architecture
  • Sustainable design consulting
  • Facilities operations analysis
  • Aviation experience design


Company development

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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6] In March 2009, HOK Sport Venue Event changed its name to Populous after a managers’ buyout by HOK Group.[5]

In October 2015, Populous relocated to its new Americas headquarters at the newly renovated Board of Trade building at 4800 Main street near the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City.[7]

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.[8]

"Retro" era of baseball parks

Oriole Park Conway Street
The red brick facade of Camden Yards was designed by Populous to blend into the surrounding neighborhood of downtown Baltimore, especially the nearby B&O Warehouse.

Populous is credited for spearheading a new era of baseball park design in the 1990s, beginning with Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.[9] 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,[10] whereas Progressive Field's glass and steel exterior "call to mind the drawbridges and train trestles that crisscross the nearby Cuyahoga River."[11] 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, DC and Minnesota.[9]

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.[12][13][14] And because the stadiums were designed for baseball instead of several sports, the sightlines were "uniformly excellent."[15]

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.[14] From 1992 to 2012, HOK Sport/Populous were the lead architects on 14 Major League Baseball stadiums and helped renovate four existing stadiums.[16]


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."[15]

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.[15][17][18][19] 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.[20]

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.[21]

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.[22] While some, including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, support the development of the London Venue,[23] 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.[24] 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.[25]


Populous HQ KCMO
Former headquarters of Populous, in Kansas City, Missouri

Sports projects









Association football







South Africa


United States

American football



Australian football

General purpose arenas

Horse racing

Ice hockey







Training facilities

  • 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)

Venue projects

Convention and Civic centers

Music and Entertainment Venues

  • MSG Sphere Las Vegas[27]  (groundbreaking in September 2018, scheduled completion 2021)
  • MSG Sphere London[28]  (announced in 2018, in design stages)

Event projects


Commonwealth Games

National Football League

(selected events)

Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball All-Star Game

Association Football events

(Selected Events)

Other events

(Selected Events)


  1. ^ Kevin Collison, "HOK Sport Venue now stands alone", The Kansas City Star, January 5, 2009.
  2. ^ "POPULOUS – Drawing People Together". POPULOUS. Archived from the original on June 13, 2016. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  3. ^ Kevin Collison, "Sports architecture firm changes name" Archived April 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, The Kansas City Star, March 31, 2009 (access date March 31, 2009).
  4. ^ "History of HOK Group, Inc. – FundingUniverse". www.fundinguniverse.com. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "HOK Sport Venue Event changes name to Populous – Kansas City Business Journal". Kansas City Business Journal. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  6. ^ Martin, David (February 1, 2007). "Thanks. Now Scram – An $8 million "public" parking garage in the River Market looks awfully private". www.pitch.com. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  7. ^ "Populous will move from River Market to Plaza area – Kansas City Business Journal". Kansas City Business Journal. Archived from the original on February 24, 2015. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  8. ^ "New game plan". Kansas City Business Journal. Archived from the original on September 17, 2008. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Byrnes, Mark (March 30, 2012). "Is the Retro Ballpark Movement Officially Over?". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  10. ^ Santelli, Robert; Santelli, Jenna (2010). The Baseball Fan's Bucket List: 162 Things You Must Do, See, Get, and Experience Before You Die. Running Press. p. 73. ISBN 9780762440313. Archived from the original on January 3, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  11. ^ Mock, Joe (June 18, 2013). "Indians' Progressive Field sustains splendor". USA Today. Archived from the original on July 20, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  12. ^ "OriolePark.com: History". Baltimore Orioles. Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  13. ^ Ward, Geoffrey C.; Ken Burns. "Fields and Dreams". PBS. Archived from the original on November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  14. ^ a b Rosensweig, Daniel (2005). Retro Ball Parks: Instant History, Baseball, and the New American City. Univ. of Tennessee Press. ISBN 9781572333512. Archived from the original on January 3, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  15. ^ a b c Lamster, Mark (July 2009). "Play Ball". Metropolis Magazine. Archived from the original on November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  16. ^ "About the Architect". Miami Marlins. Archived from the original on June 30, 2016. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  17. ^ DeMause, Neil; Cagan, Joanna (2008). Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money Into Private Profit. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 9780803228481. Archived from the original on January 3, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  18. ^ Lupica, Mike (May 23, 2011). "Subway Series: Only affordable aspect of Yankee Stadium experience is the 4 train fare". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  19. ^ deMause, Neil (April 2, 2009). "New Yankee Stadium Opens Its Vast, Expensive Gates". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  20. ^ Levin, Josh (October 7–13, 2005). "Rich Fan, Poor Fan". Washington City Paper. Archived from the original on November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  21. ^ "The End of the Retro Ballpark". The New Yorker. April 6, 2012. Archived from the original on April 1, 2016. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  22. ^ "Populous to Design Spherical Music Venues in London and Las Vegas | Architectural Digest". Architectural Digest. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  23. ^ Booth, Robert (February 9, 2018). "MSG Sphere: plans offer glimpse of London's next venue". the Guardian. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  24. ^ Sputnik. "Will Spherical Music Venues in London and Las Vegas Really Produce Great Sound?". sputniknews.com. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  25. ^ Booth, Robert (January 24, 2018). "The Golf Ball: the next addition to London's skyline?". the Guardian. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  26. ^ Schlueb, Mark. "Architects, Dyer and Lions to brainstorm ideas for MLS stadium design". Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  27. ^ "Las Vegas Breaks Ground On INSANE New Venue". Your EDM. September 30, 2018. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  28. ^ Booth, Robert (February 9, 2018). "MSG Sphere: plans offer glimpse of London's next venue". the Guardian. Retrieved October 23, 2018.

External links

Addition Financial Arena

Addition Financial Arena, formerly known as CFE Arena and UCF Arena, is a sports and entertainment arena located in Orlando, Florida, United States on the main campus of the University of Central Florida. The facility recently underwent a name change and is now known as "Addition Financial Arena." This name change came about following the name change of "CFE" to "Addition Financial." The arena was revived with new signage and part was painted black. It was constructed beginning in 2006 as a replacement for the original UCF arena, and as a part of Knights Plaza. The arena is home to the UCF Knights men's and women's basketball teams. The Arena also hosted the annual Science Olympiad in 2012 and 2014.

The arena is 325,000 square feet (30,000 m2), and boasts a capacity of over 10,000, and 17 luxury suites. As of March 2017, the attendance record for the arena is 10,011, the arena's first ever sellout crowd, for a March 22, 2017 NIT Quarterfinals matchup with the Illinois Fighting Illini. The theater can be configured for concerts, family events, musical theatre, commencements, and other stage shows and sporting events. Local high schools often host graduations at the arena. One of UCF's biggest event, Knighthon, is also held at the arena. The fundraiser is a dance marathon which raises money for Children's Miracle Network. The Addition Financial Arena is owned by the university, and is managed by Global Spectrum, a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based Comcast Spectacor.

Al Ahly SC Stadium

Al Ahly SC Stadium (Arabic: استاد النادي الاهلي‎) is a planned football stadium in Cairo, Egypt. It will also host Al Ahly SC matches, replacing Cairo International Stadium. It will have a capacity of 60,000 spectators.

Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field

Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field is a baseball stadium on the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables, Florida, United States. It is the home field of the University of Miami Hurricanes baseball team. The stadium holds a capacity of 5,000 spectators. The first game was held on February 16, 1973.Miami fan George Light donated money for the field's construction. Mark Light Field is named for George Light's son, Mark Light, who died of muscular dystrophy. Following a $3.9 million contribution by New York Yankees All-Star Alex Rodriguez, the facility was renovated in 2007-2009 and renamed.In 2013, the Hurricanes ranked 26th among Division I baseball programs in attendance, averaging 2,635 per home game.

Economy of Kansas City

The economy of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area is anchored by Kansas City, Missouri, which is the largest city in the state and the 37th largest in the United States. The Kansas City Metropolitan Area is the 27th largest in the United States, based on the United States Census Bureau's 2004 population estimates.

The Kansas City area's economy is large, influential, and important in its region. It is the third largest beef-producing city in the US (behind Chicago and Cincinnati), and is home to the second largest rail network. The area houses many factories, manufacturing plants, an official international trade zone, and more foreign trade zone space than anywhere else in the nation.

Kardinia Park (stadium)

Kardinia Park (also known as GMHBA Stadium due to naming rights) is a sporting and entertainment venue located within Kardinia Park, South Geelong, in the Australian state of Victoria. The stadium, which is owned and operated by the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust, is the home ground of the Geelong Football Club. The capacity of Kardinia Park is 34,000, making it the largest-capacity Australian stadium in a regional city.

Maverik Center

The Maverik Center, originally known as the E Center, is a 12,000 seat multi-purpose arena located in West Valley City, Utah, United States. Construction on the arena started in 1996 and was completed in time to hold its first event on September 22, 1997. The arena is owned by West Valley City, and managed by Centennial Management Group, Inc.

During the 2002 Winter Olympics it served as the main venue for the ice hockey events, and as the venue for ice sledge hockey during the 2002 Winter Paralympics. Today the arena is home to the Utah Grizzlies, and it is also a major venue in the area for numerous concerts and live touring productions.

Osborn Engineering

Osborn Engineering, is an architectural and engineering firm based in Cleveland, Ohio. Founded in 1892, it is noted mostly for designing sports stadiums. More than 100 stadiums have been designed by Osborn, including such famous parks as Fenway Park in Boston, the original Yankee Stadium in New York City, Tiger Stadium in Detroit, and numerous minor league, collegiate, and major league sports facilities in all sports. They also design other structures, including infrastructure and public sector buildings, industrial and manufacturing, and parking structures.


Populous or populus may refer to:

Populous (series), video game series

Populous (video game), first video game of the series

Populous (company), an architectural firm

Populus, a genus of plants

Populus Ltd, a market research company

World Trade Center Bhubaneswar

World Trade Center Bhubaneswar (also known as WTC Bhubaneswar) is proposed to be a 40 floors tall building in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. This will be the fifth World Trade Centre to be operationalized in India and the 344th in the world. It is developed by Populous (company). The center will consist of 200 room hotel, 50,000 sqft of indoor exhibition hall, multipurpose convention hall to accommodate 4000 delegates, small convertible meeting halls to host 12 - 16 events simultaneously, an open area to accommodate up to 25,000 people and an open amphitheater. The World Trade Center Bhubaneswar will be the tallest building in Odisha. The Convention Center will be connected to all nearby hotels and the World Trade Center through a skywalk. For now, the World Trade Center Bhubaneswar is functioning from IDCO Towers, in Janpath, Bhubaneswar.


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