Celebrating communities and sporting legacy

As we prepare for another great year at the MIPIM international real estate conference in Cannes, Populous are able to reflect on a very exciting time in architecture and planning. The last 12 months has seen major projects come to fruition, and the start of venue designs that will help to create communities and legacy across the UK and Europe.

Stadia and arenas, as well as other building types previously bracketed as simply ‘sports & leisure’, have long held the ability to affect positive transformation within communities, leading to lasting economic and social change. Regeneration is now one of the key influencing factors behind the creation and design of global sports and entertainment venues, with the power to re-energise and strengthen local communities.

In January this year we were able to celebrate the opening of Parc Olympique Lyonnais, also known as the Stade des Lumières as a tribute to the city of Lyon’s annual world-famous festival of lights. This 59,186-seat venue draws the city and the club together in a new, world-class home. As well as protecting those within the venue, the stadium’s huge roof structure is designed to echo the local forest canopies, creating a dynamic environment with cafes, retail shops, outdoor concerts and popup events, accessible any day of the week. In line with the masterplan created by AIA Associes, hotels and office space will be added in the future, creating a new heartbeat for the city. Populous’ first stadium to be completed in France, ‘Parc OL’ will be showcased during this year’s UEFA Euro 2016 Finals, hosting 5 matches including a semi-final in this prestigious event.

Parc Olympique Lyonnais

Experience is always a key component in venue success. In one of Populous’ earliest venue-led regeneration projects, the Baltimore Orioles challenged Populous to create a new baseball facility in a unique urban environment at Camden Yards in downtown Baltimore, USA; designing a baseball-specific stadium and public plaza, while honouring an important historic area.

In 1993, the year that Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened, spending in downtown Baltimore increased 260 percent; the ballpark’s presence continues to make a significant economic impact to the area today. In the following decades, we have continued to build on our expertise to lead the regeneration of areas of all shapes and sizes. While the match day experience is a crucial element in stadium design, stadia and arenas can also act as catalysts for vibrancy, diversity and redevelopment, throughout the year.

With every project that we are fortunate enough to work on, comes even greater realisation of the possibilities for urban regeneration through venue-led design. In March 2015, the Populous Arena Team were thrilled to win the Royal Institute of British Architect’s (RIBA) Competition to design the new Bristol Arena. The only major UK city currently without an arena to call its own, the exciting concept is flexible enough to cater for a wide variety of global and cultural events; from 12,000-capacity live music events to an intimate 4,000-seat amphitheatre. The masterplan for the arena will also create a range of internal and external spaces for people to come together throughout the year, sparking regeneration in the Bristol Temple Quarter and drawing visitors from across the South West of England. We can’t wait to see the arena, and the local area, come to life.

Bristol Arena_v1

Over the years, Populous have been able to play a role in some of the biggest regeneration projects in London and the UK. Ten years ago, Arsenal Football Club moved into the Emirates Stadium, as part of Populous’ masterplan for the area in Holloway, North London. And of course, the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games delivered unprecedented regeneration in East London, with 30 years of redevelopment brought about within a decade.

As the UK’s most popular sport, football naturally plays a leading role in venue-led regeneration. We are currently proud to be helping to create a new hub for the community in north London; Tottenham Hotspur’s ground-breaking Northumberland Development Project will include an extreme sports building, community health centre, commercial space and 579 residential units. The Populous-designed stadium will act as the catalyst for the transformation of the area, with the club supporting 3,500 local jobs.

Tottenham Hotspur
Populous venues quickly become part of the everyday character of a city, drawing visitors from all around the world and creating communities and legacy through venue-led regeneration. We are proud to design the places where people love to be together.

If you are in MIPIM this year, please do come and say hello to us in the London Stand. If you would like to arrange an appointment at the event, please email MIPIM2016@populous.com

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