Senior Principal, Founder / Kansas City
Joe Spear has designed some of the most recognizable sports venues in the U.S. Throughout his 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. The history of ballparks in America cannot be told without referencing Joe’s design work — he has worked on more than a dozen MLB stadium projects, from Oriole Park at Camden Yards to Progressive Field.
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 of Joe’s designs 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 the spirit and context of each community.
His award-winning work includes two National AIA Honor awards for urban design, the profession’s highest recognition and the only instances 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 architectural design, putting Joe’s body of work in the same conversation as other nationally renowned architects.
His served as the chair of Populous’ global board of directors on two separate occasions, including during the firm’s brand transition from HOK Sport Venue Event to Populous in the late 2000s.