Olympic Stadium architect, Populous, releases new edition of long-established design guide Stadia

February 26, 2013

The London 2012 Olympic Stadium is one of several landmark international sports venues to feature in a fully-updated and redesigned fifth edition of Stadia, the essential and long-established guide to stadia design, to be published on 25 February 2013.

Almost 20 years since it was first published in 1994, Stadia remains the most comprehensive guide to all aspects stadium design, from local club buildings to iconic international venues.

The new edition continues to draw on the unrivalled experience of Populous in sport architecture, combining the expert views of co-authors and Populous Senior Principals Rod Sheard and Ben Vickery as well as Geraint John, a Senior Adviser to the global design agency and Honorary Life President of the International Union of Architects Sports and Leisure Programme.

Covering every technical aspect of stadium development and design, including major alterations, the book is intended to provide the perfect guide for all professionals who commission, plan, design, and manage one of the most fascinating building types of today.

The book has evolved with the latest developments in stadia design and, as well as updated chapters on sustainability, masterplanning and services, there is a whole new chapter on branding activation. This looks at how a building’s architecture and interiors, wayfinding and signage, graphics, interactive media and exhibits can all contribute to creating a memorable and positive brand experience.

Referencing Populous’ work at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and the London O2 Arena, this chapter examines the growing importance of marrying design with the need for revenue.

Stunning new photography illuminates more than 30 global case studies featured in the new edition including the London 2012 Olympic Stadium and other recently delivered Populous projects such as:

  • The Astana Stadium – a 32,500-seat multi-functional venue located in the new sports campus of the Kazakhstan capital, Astana, which hosted the opening ceremony of the 2011 Asian Winter Games
  • The new 50,000-seat Aviva stadium opened in 2010 to replace the Lansdowne Road stadium as the home of Irish rugby
  • The Forsyth-Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand, completed for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and the only stadium in the world to have a natural grass pitch grown under a fully enclosed roof of ETFE
  • The new LEED Gold Certified stadium for the Miami Marlins MLB team in Miami, Florida, opened in April 2012
  • Soccer City Stadium, located near Soweto, in Johannesburg, which was the venue for the opening and closing matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup

Not confined to Populous case studies, this section also features the responses of other international practices to different design challenges. Case studies include the new NFL stadium designed for the Dallas Cowboys by HKS, which was opened in 2009 and is the largest domed stadium in the world with a capacity of 110,000 including 80,000 seats and Arup’s Donnbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine, which was designed for the local team Shakhtar Donetsk, and opened in August 2009.

Stadia: The Populous Design and Development Guide will be published on 25th February 2013 by Routledge

Populous was named one of the world’s 10 most innovative companies in architecture by Fast Company magazine


The authors have, between them, more than 60 years’ experience in designing, procuring and reviewing sports stadia around the world.

Rod Sheard

Rod’s experience in sport architecture began in 1975 when he completed his studies in Australia and travelled to England, joining LOBB sports architecture. In 1981, after completing a number of successful sports projects, Rod became a Partner in the firm, and in 1993 became Chairman.

In 1998, LOBB merged with HOK Sport to form the world’s leading sports design studio. In 2009 HOK Sport rebranded to become known as Populous.

As Populous Senior Principal, Rod played a leading role in modernising and creating a new grandstand for Ascot Racecourse, in the UK. He was also the key member of the Populous team that upgraded the All England Lawn Tennis Club, at Wimbledon, in London.

Ben Vickery

Ben is Senior Principal at Populous and led the team working on the Overlay design for the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games.

From 1996 to 1998 Ben lived in Sydney, Australia, where he led a team of architects and designers on ANZ Stadium, the main venue for the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

From 1998 to 2007 Ben was project director in charge of the redevelopment of Wembley Stadium, guiding it through from initial briefing to completion on site.

Ben also led the team designing Aviva Stadium in Dublin (previously known as Lansdowne Road) – Ireland’s new 50,000 seat venue for international Rugby and Football matches and concerts.

Geraint John

Geraint is visiting professor at various universities, a former Chief Architect, Technical Unit for Sport, Sports Council, UK and Honorary Life President of the International Union of Architects Sports and Leisure Programme.



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