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65 projects in 8 countries worldwide
World’s first 14.5 acre oculus roof
1 unique retractable pitch
Passion is what drives us forward in the sports and entertainment sector. Our team are not only fanatical about sport and entertainment, we are obsessive about producing better outcomes for clients, whether that’s for a Premier League football ground, international Olympics venue or world-class entertainment arena.
Last year saw the completion of the iconic Atlanta Falcons Stadium with its unique retractable roof. This year, we have been building on this success, and looking for great opportunities in US Major League soccer and collegiate venues. The recent win for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, to be shared by the US, Canada and Mexico is creating some great opportunities which we are already pursuing.
We have also been expanding our profile Eastwards, and are currently supporting a consortium bidding for the transformation of the iconic Kai Tak airport site in Hong Kong into a multi-purpose sport and leisure destination.
We don’t just build stadia. Increasingly, our focus is about looking beyond the built asset, seeking out additional development opportunities and revenue streams for clients. Our engineers and consultants are taking a stronger lead on projects, delivering better outcomes for those we work for. To do this, we have developed some fantastic tools to analyse
very complex, compound parameters and link those directly to client outcomes. By engaging with other stakeholders in an environment of co-creation, and supported by a culture of confidence and humility, we are starting to capture significant insights that deliver success for us and our clients. We’ve made significant progress in this area throughout 2018, enabling us to deliver better value and cement long-term ties with our clients.
BuroHappold’s Sports and Entertainment team has a winning combination of three things. Firstly, experience – clients benefit hugely from working with a team with over 20 years of experience and knowledge between them. Secondly, computational skills – our development and use of advanced metrics allow us to analyse how stadiums perform, linking client outcomes directly to design. Thirdly, passion – we love sport and entertainment. This enthusiasm is what drives us to deliver the very best for our clients.
Andy Pottinger, BuroHappold’s Venue Performance Specialist, explains how the sector is using outcome-driven design and performance modelling.
Our experience, computational skills and passion are now being deployed to actively support clients in their pursuit of outcomes. Outcome-driven Design is the umbrella term for multiple strands of outcome modelling which will increasingly become multi-sector.
In the Sports and Entertainment sector we often call this Venue Performance Modelling.
So what do we mean by performance?
In this instance we’re talking about how a venue performs for its owners. For example how does it help the team? How does it help generate revenue? How does the venue help the club’s reputation and brand? Results, revenue and reputation are categories in which most, if not all, of a club’s overall desired outcomes can be framed. Below these lie another deeper layer of desirable outcomes such as positive fan experience, fan influence, concourse revenue, construction cost and construction programme.
The new, performance-based approach to Stadia design that we are pioneering engages clients, stakeholders and the wider project team
What do all of the aforementioned outcomes have in common? They are what we call composite metrics. By this we mean that they can be measured and analysed by breaking them down into individual metrics. Examples of individual metrics are bowl form, roof angle, wifi coverage, fan type, seat width, and the time it takes you to get a beer! The list is endless, and BuroHappold are well placed to interpret all of it. Put simply, we’ve designed a lot of Stadia, and we’ve got a huge number of people across the practice with computational skills, so we’ve brought that together.
Using Rhino and Grasshopper we can now quickly create initial stadium concepts, formed from more than a hundred individual metrics. Then we can sit with clubs to understand how each of these concepts might relate to the composite metrics which they consider most important. If minimising construction cost is paramount, we can focus on that; if the maximisation of fan influence on the pitch is paramount, we can focus on that; etc. This is a story of co-creation – we
work with supporters, players, managers, owners, to understand exactly what high performance means – and it’s different for every club.
Venue Performance modelling is one way of us saying ‘get us involved early’ to clients, and one way of us showing how broad our understanding is. We can study how to achieve their desired outcomes scientifically, and then we can monitor how those outcomes are being pursued throughout the design process. We can understand the impact of multiple design interventions – whether that be introducing a single tier ‘home end’ (Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, new Spurs), or introducing more daylight to concourses. Science has already been used to transform our understanding of player performance, so now we are pioneering its use to transform stadium performance.
A club’s history is not a rigid thing, another page gets written every year. We can help clubs to create history.
BuroHappold has established a suite of performance metrics to bring science
to stadia and shift to outcome-driven design.