Joe Spear

FAIA, Founder, Senior Principal / Kansas City

Joseph E. Spear, FAIA, is a founder of Populous and one of the most acclaimed designers of sports facilities around the world. Over a 35-year career, Joe’s work has touched millions of people and helped revitalize urban centers in more than a dozen cities across the U.S. including San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

His award-winning work includes two National AIA Honor Award-winners for Urban Design, the profession’s highest recognition and the only times a sports building has received such recognition. In 2004, Joe was honored by Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum as a finalist for its prestigious National Design Awards. The awards honor lasting achievement in American design, putting Joe’s body of work in the same conversation as designers like Frank Gehry.

Joe’s designs defy categorization or a singular style. Some projects have won praise for intricate engagement with historic surroundings while others have been noted as progressive contemporary expressions. The one constant is a sensitivity to place and rejection of formulaic design. This defining influence has resulted in an authenticity of place that provides powerful connections to community pride, shared experiences and economic vitality. More than just building forms, Joe’s projects capture spirit and context.

His current duties include serving as the chairman of Populous’ global board, a role he also held and excelled at during the firm’s brand transition from HOK Sport Venue Event to Populous in the late 2000s.