Stadiums witness mind-boggling energy of people who celebrate a sport, dynamic performances of teams who struggle for victory, and an enthusiastic environment like no other. To capture this experience through design requires a momentous architecture, breath-taking identity, and spatial encounter that create a lasting impression.
Here is a list of 15 such firms, who have not only designed one of a kind stadiums but have also glorified the character of sports architecture multifold.
1. Bahadir Kul Architects
The firm established in 2003 has designed ground-breaking projects in the field of public-use architecture which includes sports, cultural, and transportation buildings. The practice is defined by thorough analysis and site-responsive designs that are effectual and minimal. The eccentricity is reflected in the designs of dynamic Konya City Stadium in Turkey, Sivas Stadium in Trimo, and Mersin Stadium in Turkey.
2. Fernandes Architects
Located in Sao Paulo, the firm was established in 1999 with a key focus on residential and health sector projects. However, over the last two decades, the firm has emerged as a preeminent firm in sports facility design. Popularly known for the Maracanã and Pernambuco arena which were the venues for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the firm has also designed Pacaembu Stadium, Ponte Preta, and Gremio arenas.
3. Foster + Partners
The renowned architectural firm is well known for its design of Wembley Stadium reconstruction in London, 2007 and Lusail Iconic Stadium in 2010.
4. GMP Architekten
A pioneer in stadium design, GMP has designed projects across the world with encapsulating forms and concepts. Some of the noteworthy projects include Universiade Sports Center in China, National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, Haikou Wuyuan River Sports Park in China, Cape Town Stadium, and Jawaharlal Nehru Stadion in New Delhi, India. Their work has been awarded IOC/ IAKS Gold medal for Bao’AN Stadium in China, Shanghai Oriental Sports Center, and a Bronze medal for Warsaw National Stadium.
Founded in 1955, HOK has been a progressing design firm with its spectacular work in the domain of architecture, urban design, sustainable design, and landscape architecture. The firm has created a niche in the world of sports architecture with its prominent projects such as Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta and Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. An amalgamation of technology and innovation is one of the key aspects of their design such as a retractable roof for natural lighting in the Mercedes Benz Stadium and real-time information of players monitored through fiber optics in the proposed Rugby Stadium. Besides the latter projects, their other work includes Las Vegas Ballpark, Little Caesars Arena and Hard Rock Stadium Modernization.
6. Herzog & de MeuronDesign
The Swiss firm has gained tremendous accolades for their projects, the popular Bird’s Nest- Beijing National Stadium for 2008 Olympic Games, Allianz Arena in Munich, and their proposal for Chelsea Stadium. Their first venture for stadium design was the St. Jacob-Park stadium in Basel designed in 2002. In addition to the listed projects, they also developed designs for notable projects such as revamping the Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge stadium and a stadium for Portsmouth FC.
Best known for the AT&T stadium in Texas, U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota, Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia, HKS has designed some of the most awe-inspiring stadiums. Their work for AT&T was awarded Sports Business Daily’s Sports Facility of the year in 2010, and Optum Stadium won World’s most beautiful stadium award by Prix Versailles in 2019. An important characteristic of their work is the sustainable approach which is implemented through features such as operable walls, roofs, and flexible spaces.
The infrastructure design firm was established in the year 1914, with its work accounting for a wide range of projects in the domain of aviation, transportation systems, sports, and architecture, in the United States and across the globe. With the distinction of ‘World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in 2015’, the firm has designed Columbus Crew MLS Stadium, Sacramento MLS Stadium, Levi’s stadium, and has conducted renovation and expansion work for Sun Devil Stadium, University of Kentucky Kroger Field, Iowa State University Stadium, to list a few.
An engineering and architecture design firm has been engaged in multidisciplinary projects across 17 different countries. In the category of stadium design, their projects New San Mames Stadium, and Pasaron Stadium located in Spain are examples of stellar design.
Hangzhou Olympic Sports Stadium, scheduled to host 2022 Asian Games, has been a magnificent design by the firm. With its offices throughout the world, NBBJ has a stronghold in healthcare, commercial, sports, and public use projects. Other noteworthy stadium designs by the practice are Paul Brown Stadium, Staples Center in LA, and renovation work for Lexington Center and the University of California, Pauley Pavilion.
11. OFIS Architects
Alongside building its name in architecture, urbanism, art, and stage design, the firm has set a strong foot in stadium design as well. The journey of the firm, in fact, began by winning the competition for Football Stadium Maribor. Arena Borisov in Belarus, designed keeping in view the context of the site and The Ring football stadium in Slovenia driving its name from the impactful form, are examples of flawless designs by the practice.
With projects such as Yankee Stadium in New York, London Olympic Stadium, T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, International Convention center in Sydney in their portfolio, Populous has established itself as the leading firm in sports architecture. Their work spans across more than three decades, starting in 1983, with projects all over the world. The offices located in UK, USA, Australia, India, China, Italy, and Dubai have designed more than 3,000 projects with an estimated value of $40 billion. In addition to the design of sports architectural design, the firm provides services such as branding, wayfinding and graphics, interior design, and event planning. For the exemplary work, the firm has been awarded over 200 national and international awards.
13. PI ARENA
Project Institute ARENA since its inception in 2011 has centered around sports facilities, public, and commercial design. Some of their remarkable projects are St. Petersburg Football Stadium, Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi which was designed for Olympic Winter Games, and Football Stadium “CSKA” in Moscow.
14. Rossetti Architects
The US-based firm focuses on stadiums, arenas, and commercial buildings. Since it started in 1969, the firm has setup its stronghold in sports architecture with multiple projects such as MLS Soccer Stadiums Rio Tinto, and Talen Energy. Furthermore, with international stadiums such as Incheon Football Stadium in South Korea and Tele2 Arena in Sweden, and spectacular designs of Louis Armstrong Stadium and Grandstand Stadium in New York. Their designs seek innovation and sustainability as seen in the Louis Armstrong Stadium which is the first naturally ventilated tennis stadium.
The global architecture firm with its bases across the world has designed stadiums for a diverse scale ranging from Gooding Field Amherst College in Amherst, BC Place Stadium renovation, Harvard University Soccer Stadium at Soldiers Field, and Wrigley Field in Chicago.