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The stadium is the centerpiece of an Olympic Park that has made a lasting contribution to Sydney (Photo by Patrick Bingham-Hall/Populous)
The opening ceremony of the 2000 Olympics, with the north and south stands in their original configuration (Photo by Mike Powell/Allsport/Getty Images)
Australia’s Cathy Freeman channels the hopes of her nation to win the women’s 400 meter Final in front of 118,000 spectators (Photo by Sydney Morning Herald/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Stadium Australia. Also known as ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Stadium and Telstra Stadium.

Take one look at Stadium Australia, as it was known during the 2000 Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games, and you can see the DNA of Populous’ design for the John Smith’s Stadium running through it. The 295 meter-long curved trusses supporting the roof over the east and west stands echo those at the Huddersfield ground. Except here, that roof forms a symbolic link with other Sydney landmarks, particularly the Harbour Bridge. And instead of protecting 24,500 rugby league fans from the damp English weather, it provided shelter from the Australian sun for some of the 118,000 spectators in attendance — the largest ever audience in an Olympic stadium. They would witness what is still considered to be one of the best Games in history.

The International Olympic Committee wanted the 2000 Olympics to be the ‘green games,’ which led the Populous team to incorporate sustainable measures like rainwater harvesting and a range of passive design features for natural ventilation, heating and cooling. The stadium is a model of green, functional, cost effective design and is still regarded as one of the most environmentally sustainable stadiums in the world.

In a joint venture with Bligh Voller Nield, Populous designed the stadium with its legacy in mind. When you see it today, the north and south stands have been reduced for a total capacity of 85,000. Retractable seating has been included too, supporting a variety of sports and events, from setting the attendance record for a Rugby World Cup Final in 2003, to hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023.
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The stadium’s open south end creates a connection between the stadium and downtown Pittsburgh (Photo by Jason Cohn/Getty Images)
Future Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis runs the ball against the Chicago Bears (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
At full capacity for sports events, the stadium seats 68,400 fans (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Heinz Field. Acrisure Stadium is widely regarded as one of the finest fields in the NFL. A huge part of that popularity comes down to the way the stadium has been embedded within the city of Pittsburgh.

Populous’ design draws on the city’s history and, in particular, its strong ties to the steel industry — the stadium is home to the Steelers, after all. Steel plays a major role, both in the structure and the stadium’s exterior, while the open south end creates a connection between the stadium and downtown, drawing the city into the game day experience. As the stadium has developed, Populous has remained on hand, designing renovations in 2015 that opened up the south plaza, creating nearly 360 degrees of connectivity for fans around the stadium. The Populous events team was also involved when the stadium staged the 2011 NHL Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, and again for the 2017 NHL Stadium Series game between the Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers.

In 2023, Taylor Swift performed at Acrisure Stadium as part of her Eras Tour, attracting 73,117 people, making it the highest-ticketed event in Pittsburgh’s history.
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To the north of the stadium, the Great Lawn is 28,000 square feet of Kentucky Bluegrass that’s open to the public year round (Photo by James Ewing with Joel B Sanders Agency/Populous)
Fans stream into the stadium past block lettering that announces the home of Minnesota United (Photo by James Ewing with Joel B Sanders Agency/Populous)
Morgan Brian, of the United States Women’s National Team, whips in a cross during a friendly against Portugal (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Allianz Field, the new home of Minnesota United, has been sustainably designed to minimize its environmental impact, with low energy features like LED lighting throughout. The 360-degree canopy over the bowl protects fans from the weather, reduces the amount of light and noise spilling into the neighborhood and creates an intimate home ground atmosphere. Designed as a soccer-first facility, it can also be configured to host a range of events outside of the fixture list.

Populous designed Allianz Field so that it ties into its surroundings, transforming a contaminated vacant lot into a space that’s as useful for local residents as it is for the club. With a steady stream of cars zooming by on I-94, the stadium’s southern profile rises up to greet them, while to the north it scales down, minimizing its impact on the residential Midway neighborhood. Its most welcoming space is the Great Lawn to the north. Planted with 28,000 square feet of lush Kentucky Bluegrass and beautiful native trees, it’s a park the public can use all year. On the field, the team has lifted its level since it moved into its new home, becoming the only team in the western conference to qualify for the playoffs four seasons in a row.
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Queen Elizabeth II arrives to officially open the Grandstand on the first day of Royal Ascot in 2006 (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Riders pass the Grandstand on Ladies Day in 2006 (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
Ryan Moore rides Highland Reel to victory in the Prince of Wales’ Stakes on Day Two of Royal Ascot in 2017 (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
For over three centuries, Ascot has built a reputation as one of the finest racecourses in the world, but to keep pace with developments in the sport, the Club recognized that its facilities had to be modernized.

For Populous, the challenge was making sure this modernization, which included a new grandstand, remained sensitive to the historic setting. Inspired by the soaring trees that line the course, the new 30,000-seat, 480 meter grandstand perches on the brow of a hill. Within the stand, a large atrium acts as an ‘environmental lung,’ topped by a lightweight glass and steel roof with a light, sweeping canopy sailing over everything. The parade ring was moved to the front of the grandstand to create a central focus for race days, giving spectators a chance to engage with the pre- and post-race ceremonies.

Royal Ascot is the most valuable race meeting in Europe, and Britain’s most popular, welcoming 300,000 visitors during the five days of the festival. The redeveloped grandstand offers these racegoers — and all those visiting throughout the year — a wealth of different experiences, further broadening Ascot’s appeal and reaffirming its position as one of the world’s prestigious racecourses.
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The development of state-of-the-art parametric software was crucial in creating the stadium’s complex curved forms (Photo by Chris Gascoigne/Populous)
Republic of Ireland fans bring the passion against France during a UEFA EURO 2024 qualifying match (Oisin Keniry/Getty Images)
The Irish team wins possession in the lineout against Scotland during the Six Nations Rugby Championship in 2022 (Photo by Ramsey Carey/Sportsfile/Getty Images)
Lansdowne Road has been the traditional home of rugby in Ireland since the first game was played there in 1876. Yet the existing stadium had fallen short of modern international standards, so Populous was briefed to design a new stadium. The challenge? It had to seat 50,000 fans in a smaller space than the one occupied by the old 25,000-capacity venue.

The design involved a complex 3D form, which required the development of groundbreaking new parametric computer software. The dramatic form of the finished stadium rises in the east and west to give the majority of spectators the best viewing angles, while lowering in the north and south to minimize the impact on residential areas – houses which have a legal ‘right to light.’ The horseshoe-shaped main truss for the roof is supported on two columns at the north end, providing the stunning visual effect of the roof in suspension, hanging above the seating tiers.

The Aviva Stadium heralded a new era of stadium design, where complex curved forms can be designed and constructed using parametric design software. It’s an ephemeral addition to the skyline of Dublin and a new symbol of modern Ireland.
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The riders pass the grandstands at the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby in 2023 (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
The race has a tradition of glamor — where people come to see and be seen (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Run over 10 furlongs, the Kentucky Derby is known as ‘The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.’ (Photo by Michael Reeves/Getty Images)
The Kentucky Derby is the most-watched horse race in the U.S., and the longest continuously-run sporting event in America. Over 170,000 spectators flock to Churchill Downs every year to witness the Run for the Roses. Populous has been working with the racecourse for years, influencing every facet of the historic venue.

It started with the Winner’s Circle Suites, which opened in 2015, offering guests a full-service premium venue, with an open bar and gourmet food. Next came the Starting Gate Suites in 2017, a three-storey tower adding three new viewing terraces of 1,910 new seats, all built over an existing grandstand. The Homestretch Club was unveiled in time for the Kentucky Derby in 2022, transforming an underutilized trackside structure into one of the course’s highest-level premium spaces, centered around the longest bar in Kentucky. Then, in 2023, the First Turn Experience added a new grandstand of 5,100 seats, and, celebrating the 150th Kentucky Derby in 2024, a major renovation of the Paddock is set to open, transforming the experience for every person attending the race.
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The arches of the facade recall Ebbets Field, the former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers (Photo by David Sundburg with Esto/Populous)
The view from behind home plate on opening day in 2009 (Photo by Christy Radecic/Populous)
Jack Harlow performs outside the stadium at the Governors Ball Music Festival (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)
To understand Citi Field, you first have to understand the Mets. Founded to replace the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants after both teams departed the city, the Mets played their home games at Shea Stadium in Queens. It was a multipurpose venue that didn’t necessarily serve baseball well, with fans further from the field than at other major league ballparks.

Populous’ design pays homage to the old home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Ebbets Field, which was demolished in 1960. The facade is a mixture of brick, limestone, granite and cast stone, with a main entry, the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, that honors the Dodgers legend.

Most importantly, contoured seating brings spectators much closer to the action than they’d ever been at Shea Stadium, with nearly half the seats in the lower concourse, finally giving the Mets and their fans the home that they deserve.
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The arena’s iconic roof was retained, saving a huge amount of materials (Photo by DP Drones/Populous)
Windows reveal the subterranean design as the Seattle Kraken take on the Dallas Stars in the NHL (Photo by Ema Peter/Populous)
Aliyah Boston of the Indiana Fever in action against Mercedes Russell of The Seattle Storm (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Formerly known as Washington State Pavilion, Washington State Coliseum, Seattle Center Coliseum and KeyArena at Seattle Center.

The first arena to achieve the International Living Future Institute’s Zero Carbon Certification, Climate Pledge Arena fulfills its promise and proves that large-scale venues can tread lightly on the planet.

Populous’ design repurposed the existing structure of the former KeyArena, preserving its roof and exterior to avoid a massive waste of materials, while preserving a historic landmark. This meant the 20,000-tonne roof had to be lifted, while 520,000 cubic meters of soil were removed underneath, almost doubling the venue’s capacity. The arena is powered solely from renewable sources, including on-site solar energy from the roof, while water conservation systems integrated throughout the building harvest rainwater to supply its rink with the greenest ice in the NHL.

Being environmentally conscious doesn’t mean the arena skimps on delivering a premium experience, though. The environment might be prioritized, but the spectator is in no way compromised, with a game day experience that’s second to none. Fans of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm can take pride not just in their teams, but in the venue where they play their games.
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The stadium hosted the first game of the 2023 Women’s State of Origin Series (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Harrison Steele of the Central Coast Mariners celebrates victory in the men’s A-League Grand Final, played at CommBank Stadium in 2023 (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
The stadium holds 30,000 spectators for A-League and National Rugby League matches (Photo by VenuesLive/Populous)
Originally opened as Western Sydney Stadium. Also known as BankWest Stadium.

Western Sydney has a strong sporting tradition in rugby league and soccer. The aim of redeveloping the old Western Sydney Stadium was to create the best possible venue to watch games live. At the same time, it needed to feel like it belonged to the wider community, which led to the inclusion of new family-friendly features, like a family seating area twice the size of the old family stand.

The stadium’s premium areas include Australia’s first continuous suite deck, creating a social in-bowl balcony that makes the most of Sydney’s warm climate. Another innovation includes Australia’s first rectangular stadium field suite club, bringing fans closer to their teams.

Independent economic analysis conducted for the City Council has shown that CommBank Stadium is bringing a financial benefit of nearly A$1 million to Parramatta each time an event is held at the Stadium.

CommBank Stadium was designed to be an identifiable symbol for Western Sydney, a venue that delivers a world-class spectator experience and the flexibility to be used by the community all year for functions and events. It’s drawing huge musical acts too, like Elton John, who made it the final stop on his Australian tour in 2020.
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The Autodrome Marketing Building at dusk (Photo by View Pictures/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)
France’s Nicolas Lapierre takes the first corner during the A1 Grand Prix Race of Nations (Photo by FELIX GONZALEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
The dynamic form of the Autodrome Marketing Building is designed to reflect motion by minimizing vertical lines (Photo by View Pictures/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)
With the Dubai Autodrome, Populous brought world-class motorsport to the Middle East. The first facility of its kind in the region, it has a 5.4km FIA-sanctioned motor racing track, international standard pit lane complex, and a state-of-the-art grandstand with room for over 7,000 spectators.

Based on Populous’ detailed master plan, a business park has developed around the track, with offices, showrooms, warehouses and conference facilities creating a home for the automotive industry in the Gulf. Populous set the architectural template, designing the Marketing Building with barely any vertical lines to give a stationary structure the feeling of motion. The Autodrome and Business Park has become a hub from which a vibrant motor racing culture has flourished, including a racing school where the everyday driver can learn how to push their limits.

Since 2004, the track has become a fixture on the international racing calendar. Specially configured so that it can accommodate motorbikes and cars simultaneously, it hosts the Hankook 24H Dubai endurance race, part of the 24H series, the FIA GT Championship, the UAE Sportbike Championship and the annual Dubai Motorsport Festival, attracting the best and brightest teams and drivers from around the world.
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Premier League match between Arsenal and Crystal Palace, which the Gunners would win 4-1 (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Fans pour into the stadium ahead of Arsenal’s first match at their new home (Photo by Hutton + Crow/Populous)
Arsenal players celebrate after scoring against Aston Villa in the Premier League (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
How do you replace a soccer ground as iconic as Highbury? How do you create a place that makes the supporters of Arsenal FC — fans that had been filling the old ground’s terraces week in, week out for decades — feel at home? Populous was assigned a daunting task, made even more challenging by the plot of land the team had to work with, on an island between two major railway lines.

The result, Emirates Stadium, is a stroke of genius. The modernity of its sleek, curved facade, elliptical bowl and floating roof is married with clever nods to the club’s traditions. Take something as simple as the name displayed on the side of the building. Rather than use the typeface of the stadium sponsor, Populous’ activation team employed the same Gothic Bank lettering used throughout the old stadium, making something new immediately familiar. It might seem like a small detail, but it’s the kind of touch fans appreciate.

While the stadium is first and foremost a home for the Gunners and their fans, the venue helped contribute to Arsenal’s financial strength and stability, almost tripling match day revenue and allowing the club to clear all its bank loans only four years after its opening. Since then, it’s been held up as the defining model for other teams to follow in meeting UEFA’s Financial Fair Play requirements.
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Viewed from the north stand, the Cerro de la Silla looms over the stadium (Photo by Jorge Toboada/Populous)
Monterrey and Club León line up prior to their 2015 Liga MX match beneath the striking form of the stadium’s roof (Photo by Mario Ocampo/LatinContent via Getty Images)
Rayados fans gather before kick-off (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Estadio BBVA Bancomer.

Take a seat in the north stand of Estadio BBVA and you’ll get a view unlike any other in sport. In front of you, a steep rake of seating plunges down to the soccer field, with thousands of fans intensifying the atmosphere within the bowl. Meanwhile, up above, framed by the sloping cantilevered roof, the majestic Cerro de la Silla Mountain sits silently. It’s a venue that challenges every preconception of what a modern soccer stadium should be.

Home to CF Monterrey Rayados and its passionate supporters, it’s a profoundly fan-centric venue, prioritizing visibility and comfort. Gills in the stadium’s facade encourage air flow to keep spectators cool and comfortable. Those steep stands sit right up against the field, ensuring every seat is the best in the house, while a wide range of seating options — including more premium seating than any other stadium in Latin America — caters to a broad spectrum of audiences.

Building on this, the stadium champions social integration, with open-access areas and inclusive spaces transforming it into a lively hub for the community outside of game days, and weaving it into the social fabric of Monterrey.
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Fans gather outside the stadium before ‘O Clássico’ between Benfica and FC Porto (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Since its completion in 2003, the stadium has sparked the regeneration of the Luz district of Lisbon (Photo by Blom/Getty Images)
Fabien Barthez of France saves a penalty from England’s David Beckham during the 2004 UEFA European Championships (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
This historic arena, home to Portuguese soccer giants S.L. Benfica, underwent a major transformation in 2003 to become a modern day colosseum.

Built with the UEFA European Football Championship 2004 in mind, the new Estadio da Luz was more than just a venue ready to host Europe's elite. Populous’ sleek, contemporary design, marked by a distinctive polycarbonate roof, ensured the stadium shimmered, living up to its name, Stadium of Light. Almost ethereal, the roof bathes the field in a soft glow, giving games played under the evening sun a magical quality.

Yet, beneath all the architectural grandeur, what stands out is the atmosphere. The design, with its seating right next to the field of play, ensures that the roar of the passionate Benfiquistas resonates powerfully, making it a fortress where other teams fear to tread.

From hosting European finals to witnessing Benfica's domestic triumphs, Estadio da Luz has firmly etched its name in soccer lore. It stands as a testament to Benfica's illustrious history, proving that a stadium can be both a beacon of modern architectural innovation, and a cauldron of raw, unbridled passion.
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A watch party in the Deer District mixed-use development outside the arena for the 2021 NBA Finals. (Photo by Mike Roemer/Populous)
Fiserv Forum's six-story atrium (Photo by Garrett Rowland/Populous)
The 17,500-seat arena features the largest symmetrical scoreboard in the NBA (Photo by Populous)
As the centerpiece of a new development zone dubbed ‘Deer District,’ Fiserv Forum is breathing new life into downtown Milwaukee. The plaza surrounding the arena is home to restaurants and a beer garden, creating a focal point where people can gather pre- and post-match, and for other events year-round.

With 35 years fine-tuning the design of arena seating, the Populous team was able to build extraordinary vantage points into the bowl. Two-thirds of the arena’s capacity is seated in the lower tiers, meaning the upper bowl can be positioned closer to the event floor, so that everybody gets a world-class view of the action.

Bucks fans have embraced their new arena, regularly turning out in force — in 2019, the Bucks had their 50th sellout at the Forum, the longest streak of sellouts in franchise history. The team has had an impressive upturn in results since moving into their new home too, winning 80% of both their regular season and postseason games. This success was capped off on July 20, 2021, when the Fiserv Forum hosted Game 6 of the NBA Finals, which saw the Bucks clinch their first NBA championship in 50 years, beating the Phoenix Suns 105-98.
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The crowd cheers during a local soccer match ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup (Photo by Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images)
At night, when lit from the inside, the stadium’s facade mimics the starlit African sky (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama speaks at the Nelson Mandela memorial service in 2013 (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
Also known as Soccer City and The Calabash.

In 2004, South Africa was chosen as the first African nation to host a FIFA World Cup. A venue was needed for the World Cup Final — one that would make the whole continent proud.

FNB Stadium isn’t just a stadium, it's a giant, celebratory nod to African culture and spirit. When you lay eyes on its facade, inspired by a calabash pot, you see more than a sports venue. You're getting a glimpse into a vibrant heritage, symbolized in earthy colors that wrap around its exterior, projecting a sense of unity and harmony.

With enough seats for 94,736 spectators, it’s the largest stadium in Africa. The design is all about keeping the energy of a crowd that size alive, making sure fans aren’t just watching the action — they’re living it. That works thanks to strategic seating brought in close to the field. And while it may have been built with the 2010 FIFA World Cup in mind, it has gone on to stage other major events, including rugby matches, concerts and a festival celebrating the life’s work and legacy of Nelson Mandela.
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England winger Chris Ashton scores a try with his signature swallow dive celebration at the Rugby World Cup 2011 (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis/Getty Images)
England and Georgia line up before their pool match at the Rugby World Cup 2011 (Photo by Chris Sullivan/Populous)
The New Zealand All Blacks perform the Haka before playing Australia in 2023 (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Dunedin Stadium. Also known as Awatea Street Stadium and Otago Stadium.

Set the challenge of building the most southerly professional stadium in the world, Populous decided an all-weather venue was the obvious solution to contend with Dunedin’s cold, wet and blustery climate.

There was one key challenge, though. The team needed to find a way of growing and sustaining a natural turf field under a permanently fixed roof. For two years, Populous’ research team studied different materials and their effects on grass growth, eventually settling on ETFE, a transparent polymer originally developed for use in outer space. In fact, the material is so effective, it was discovered at the test site that the grass growing beneath the ETFE was even healthier and stronger than the grass growing around it that was open to the elements.

The result was the largest ETFE-covered structure in the southern hemisphere, and the world’s only permanently covered stadium to have a natural grass playing field. The stadium’s success has opened the door for venues in regions with equally challenging climates.

During the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Forsyth Barr Stadium hosted multiple pool matches, attracting praise from both players and fans. Beyond rugby, it has given the people of Dunedin a new event venue they can enjoy, putting on everything from movie screenings to Red Bull snowboarding competitions. Elton John was the first artist to perform there, while Ed Sheeran set a new record for concerts in Dunedin, pulling in 108,000 people over three nights during his 2018 tour.
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The curve of the stand has been designed to follow the gentle curve of the Thames (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Fans enjoy the newly-developed riverside walkway that allows uninterrupted passage behind the stand along the river (Photo by Steve Bradens/Getty Images)
The new stand sits proudly in its historic riverside surroundings (Photo by Damon Lavelle/Populous)
Craven Cottage is one of the oldest continuously used grounds in England. Fulham FC moved into it in 1896 and the first stand, designed by the celebrated stadium architect Archibald Leitch, was added in 1905 and is still used today. Leitch also designed the Cottage, which is now one of the last remaining examples of a corner pavilion in English soccer.

When the club approached Populous to redevelop the outdated Riverside Stand, the challenge for the team was to design a structure that increased capacity, improved amenities and enhanced the heritage of the ground. All this on an extremely tight site, flanked by the field to the north and the River Thames to the south. The river wall was in a bad way too, so the project involved constructing a replacement, adding the major local benefit of a new public riverside walkway.

The new Riverside Stand sits proudly in its iconic location beside the Thames. Not only has it addressed the club’s operational and sporting requirements for the soccer season, but with restaurants overlooking the river and a health club that includes a rooftop pool, it has also created a hub that can be a draw all year round.
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GEODIS Park is the largest soccer-specific stadium in the U.S., with 30,000 seats (Photo by Tom Harris/Populous)
Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi takes a corner during the Leagues Cup Final in 2023 (Photo by John Wilkinson/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
The stadium is nestled in the storied fairgrounds of the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood, a buzzing art hub donned with revitalized historic factories (Photo by Tom Harris/Populous)
Nearly two years after their inaugural match, Nashville SC took to the field in their new 30,000-seat home at GEODIS Park, the largest soccer-specific stadium in the U.S. It’s a ground with a uniquely intimidating match day atmosphere — the tight angle of the terraces sees to that. With just 150 feet between the last row of seats and the touchline, every fan feels next to the action.

The materials used in the construction reflect the juxtaposition between the surrounding neighborhood’s current creative community and its industrial history, with a structural steel canopy that protects the open-air stadium, allowing the venue to be activated year-round for a variety of events. The design reflects Nashville SC’s culture while providing plenty of space for new traditions to be made. Colorful banners featuring the faces of players and fans adorn the stadium’s exterior columns.

The flexibility to accommodate 27,000 people for concerts keeps Nashville’s famous music scene at the heart of the design. The stadium also integrates multiple mini stages where fans are welcomed by local artists and songwriters. There’s even a stage in the seating bowl housing a Nashville SC-branded Gibson Les Paul guitar used for the pregame riff.
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The stadium’s structure and roof creates a unique silhouette (Photo by Laurent Shen/Populous)
The seating bowl holds 59,186 fans (Photo by Joosep Martinson - FIFA/FIFA/Getty Images)
Megan Rapinoe celebrates after scoring for the U.S. Women’s National Team during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Parc Olympique Lyonnais.

Between 2002 and 2008, Olympique Lyonnais won seven consecutive Ligue 1 titles, setting a record that still stands. After that incredible run, the club decided they needed a stadium in line with their aspirations and turned to Populous to create it.

The experience of the supporter is always at the heart of a stadium. Here, to maximize the atmosphere created by the fans, the venue is enveloped by an enormous roof structure — a canopy that mimics the local forests. But it doesn’t just protect the spectators in the stands. It extends over a large part of the podium surrounding the stadium, creating new spaces where fans can come together outside of the venue. At night, in a nod to Lyon’s famous Fête des Lumières, the canopy is illuminated, transforming into a beacon for OL that’s visible for miles.

Parc Olympique Lyonnais has already hosted its fair share of major events. Six matches of UEFA Euro 2016 were held here, including the semi-final between Wales and eventual champions Portugal. The stadium became the first outside of Paris to host the Coupe de la Ligue Final in 2017, while 2018 brought the Europa League Final to Lyon. In 2019, it staged the final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
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The stadium has played host to six Super Bowls, including Super Bowl LIV in 2020 (Photo by Bo Baumgartner/Populous)
Legendary Dolphins Quarterback Dan Marino in action against the Colts (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
Fans cheer as the Miami Dolphins take on the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL in 1999 (Photo by David Madison/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Joe Robbie Stadium. Also known as Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Land Shark Stadium, Sun Life Stadium and New Miami Stadium.

Designing the home stadium of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins more than three decades ago, Populous built in some innovations that might not stand out so much today — but that’s only because these innovations were so successful, they have been adopted as a standard part of venue design ever since.

Conceived at a time when many U.S. stadiums were criticized because they didn’t have a tight enough focus on any specific function, the Hard Rock Stadium was intended for multipurpose use from the outset, as the home of the Dolphins and, until 2011, the MLB’s Florida Marlins. Populous developed a system that allowed easy reconfiguration between football and baseball modes — a logistical solution that was unheard of at the time.

The stadium’s biggest legacy is the invention of the concept of club seating, reflecting a shifting paradigm toward enhancing premium experiences for fans, and generating extra revenue streams for a venue’s occupants. Populous’ approach, anticipating the sporting and business potential of the venue, showed a nuanced understanding of the wider role stadiums can play in the sports industry. Today, it’s unthinkable that planning for a new stadium would be approached in any other way.

To date, the stadium has staged six Super Bowls, and is set to host multiple matches when the FIFA World Cup comes to North America in 2026, cementing its enduring legacy.
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The SUNS take on the Western Bulldogs in the AFL (Photo by Scott Burrows Photography/Getty Images)
Uganda’s Emily Nanziri competes in the women’s 400 meter during the 2018 Commonwealth Games (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
The stadium has hosted major music events, including the Big Day Out festival in 2014 (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Carrara Stadium. Also known as Metricon Stadium.

When it opened in 2011, Heritage Bank Stadium was Australia’s greenest and most cost-effective stadium — the first in Australia to have a halo of photovoltaic cells integrated into the roof, providing 20% of its energy needs.

Built around a new AFL club, the Gold Coast SUNS, the stadium’s capacity was set at 25,000 seats to intensify the atmosphere on match days. Thinking ahead, the bowl was designed in a horseshoe shape to allow a temporary end stand to be installed, increasing the capacity to 40,000 for major events like the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Stylish and contemporary suites and lounges, with informal seating and coffee tables, were included to create an atmosphere of ‘watching from home’ at the live match experience, while open barbecue terraces reflect the Gold Coast lifestyle, with a relaxed environment.

In 2018, the stadium staged the opening and closing ceremonies and athletics events of the Commonwealth Games. It has hosted major music events too, with the Foo Fighters performing at one of the largest concerts in the Gold Coast’s history in 2011, and the Big Day Out festival in 2014, when Pearl Jam headlined.
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The venue represents a huge step forward for gender equality in sport (Photo by Albert Perez/AFL Photo/Getty Images)
Brighton Homes Arena opened with Brisbane Lions meeting the Melbourne Demons in the 2022 AFLW Grand Final (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
The Lions’ Dayne Zoroastrian signs autographs during a training session (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)
One thing sets the Brighton Homes Arena apart from other elite sports facilities in Australia — it’s the first one purpose-built for both professional women’s and men’s teams.

Designed for the Brisbane Lions’ AFLW and AFL players, the 8,000 capacity boutique Brighton Homes Arena centers around three distinct buildings: the Elite Training Facility, Community Facilities and Grandstand, each strategically positioned to provide uninterrupted views of the Michael Voss Oval.

As the name suggests, the Elite Training Facility is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for the Lions' training and analysis. A 50 meter by 35 meter indoor training field known as ‘The Cage’ ensures practice sessions continue uninterrupted, whatever the weather.

Accessibility is another key focus of the facility’s design, with clear signage using color and contrast so that it’s clearly legible at a distance. The expansive concourse serves as an exercise loop on non-event days, inviting the community to enjoy the precinct year-round. Over 50% of the precinct has been designed for community use, from meeting spaces and function rooms, a café, parkland and a community gym, pool and wellness center.

The arena seamlessly integrates with the surrounding environment too, maintaining a connection to nature and indigenous culture through natural grass berms and educational walking trails.

Coinciding with the Brisbane Lions AFLW Grand Final appearance, the arena opened on Nov. 27, 2022. It embodies the transformative power of thoughtful design and local engagement, inviting everyone to be a part of its unique community.
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The ICC Exhibition Centre faces onto Tumbalong Park (Photo by Brett Boardman Photography/Populous)
From left to right — the ICC Sydney Theatre, ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre and ICC Sydney Convention Centre (Photo by Henry Li Photography/Populous)
Cosplayers attend Oz Comic-Con Sydney in 2018 (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)
Also known as Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre and Darling Harbour Live.

Sydney’s 250,000-square-meter International Convention Centre actually comprises three distinct venues; a theater, an exhibition center and a convention center. Each is a world-class venue in its own right, but combined they become an economic lynchpin, amplifying Sydney’s international standing and hosting events that draw thought leaders from around the world.

The ICC Sydney Theatre features a fan-shaped seating layout that holds 8,000 people, with standing room for another 1,000. Set within Tumbalong Park, the ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre provides 35,000 square meters of floor space, making it the largest exhibition space in Australia. The impact of the immense scale of the building has been dramatically reduced by integrating it within the terraced park. The ICC Sydney Convention Centre faces onto Cockle Bay in Darling Harbour, with a sparkling glass facade that responds to the shimmering water. Breaking with convention, the ballroom, which would usually be placed in the basement, occupies the top floor, giving guests stunning views of the Sydney skyline.

Joint venture partners HASSELL + Populous worked together to design ICC Sydney. Since it opened, the venue has hosted major conferences and festivals, including RTX Sydney, the World Chambers Congress and Oz Comic-Con. Some of the biggest names in pop and rock have brought their tours to the center too, from Ariana Grande, Cher and Kylie Minogue, to The 1975 and The Script.
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The stadium is home to both Huddersfield Town FC and Huddersfield Giants RLFC (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
When set up for concerts, the stadium holds up 40,000 people (Photo by Mirrorpix/Getty Images)
Fans stay dry during a downpour thanks to the cantilevered roof design (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Kirklees Stadium. Also known as Alfred McAlpine Stadium and Galpharm Stadium.

It’s no exaggeration to say that John Smith's Stadium changed the world of sports architecture. Back in the ‘90s, British sports venues were mainly older stands, or newer functional boxes that offered supporters little more than a seat on a cold terrace.

Populous crafted an audacious plan that would give Huddersfield Giants and Huddersfield Town a shared home they could be proud of, while setting the gold standard for fan experience. A small northern town, the birthplace of rugby league, would become the birthplace of a new kind of stadium.

At a time when 3D design was in its infancy, the Populous team developed its own computer program that would allow the designers to test sightlines. The stadium's signature ‘banana truss’ structure isn't just about good looks. Those sweeping, cantilevered roofs mean that nearly every fan, no matter where they sit, gets a front-row experience without a pillar in sight — while ensuring the unpredictable English weather doesn’t dampen spirits.

All in, this Huddersfield icon didn't just raise the bar — it redefined it. In fact, the year after it opened, it was named the RIBA Building of the Year. To this day, it’s the only sports building to claim that accolade. Modern stadiums owe a nod to its trailblazing spirit, proving it's not just about where the game is played, but how.
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LED lights integrated into the vertical louvers of the facade can create animated light shows (Photo by Aaron Pocock Photography/Populous)
Singapore’s Debbie Soh competes in the Women’s Synchronised Swimming Solo Free Routine in the Aquatic Centre during the 2017 SEA Games (Photo by Allsport Co./Getty Images)
The revamped Bukit Jalisco National Stadium has a capacity of 87,000 (Photo by Aaron Pocock Photography/Populous)
Also known as Kuala Lumpur Sports City.

KL Sports City is a magnificent sports and entertainment precinct in Kuala Lumpur that was revitalized by Populous in time to host the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.

The redevelopment focused on transforming key venues, including those hosting hockey, aquatic events, Axiata Arena and the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, which is now adorned with distinctive stripes reminiscent of the Malaysian Tiger. The stadium's vertical louvers, shaped in response to climatic conditions, provide sun shading and natural ventilation to the concourse while creating a visually striking facade. Energy-efficient LED lights integrated into the louvers allow for captivating digital animations.

The rejuvenation of KL Sports City called for sustainable long-term use of the facilities and parklands by the community. The design increased green space overall from 5% to 30%, resulting in a pedestrian-centered precinct with shade-providing tropical plants creating ‘green corridors’ to reduce heat and allow for pop-up outdoor events.

Beyond sports, KL Sports City has been designed to host other events, including concerts, weddings and conventions, making it a versatile entertainment hub. It has redefined the night sky with vibrant colors and patterns lighting up its facades.
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Dressed in blue, a Swedish speedskater trains alongside the Norwegian team during the run up to the Winter Olympics (Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon/Denver Post/Getty Images)
Sweden’s Matthias Claesson and Pawel Czapiewski compete in the 800m during the 2009 European Athletics Indoor Championships (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
The angled facade of the Oval Lingotto was designed to complement its famous neighboring buildings (Photo by Andrea Fortunati/Populous)
Populous designed the Lingotto Oval for the speed skating events of the 2006 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Turin. With a footprint covering an area equivalent to four soccer fields, it houses a 400 meter speed skating track. Such a sizable addition to the Lingotto complex required a design that respected the famous buildings surrounding it, particularly the Lingotto Building itself.

The arched roof is supported by a steel structure comprising free-spanning spine trusses. These trusses accommodate maintenance galleries and lighting, with curved secondary wings lending a sensational vaulted effect to the interior. The arena holds over 8,000 people, including spectators, officials, competitors, press and media. Each of these groups access the arena separately, with special security arrangements for the participants, who use underground access tunnels to enter from the changing rooms.

Designed with flexibility in mind, so that its life would continue long after the Games finished, the Oval Lingotto has hosted fairs and exhibitions and major sporting events, including the World Fencing Championships in 2006 and the European Athletics Indoor Championships in 2009.
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The view from behind home plate during the 2023 World Baseball Classic (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Major League Baseball/Getty Images)
With the roof open, a covered plaza is created outside the stadium (Photo by Rod Mar/Populous)
Josh Johnson makes the first pitch in the new stadium on Opening Day 2012 (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Marlins Park. For the first time in their history, the Miami Marlins were going to have their own home, after sharing the Joe Robbie Stadium with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins since 1993. The team wanted to put their stamp on this new dedicated ballpark, with a design that drew influences from the community surrounding it.

The Marlins set Populous a brief to be bold — and the team delivered. The ballpark is a modern sculpture, an abstract interpretation of water merging with land, symbolizing Miami’s coastal landscape. The enormous retractable roof, which closes in just 13 minutes, protects all 37,000 spectators and means, rain or shine, the game will go on. The glass outfield wall retracts too, framing stunning views of downtown Miami, while quirky flourishes, like the two 450-gallon fish tanks behind home plate, express the Marlins’ unique personality.

When fully open, the roof is parked outside the stadium, creating a covered plaza that locals can enjoy outside of game days. The ballpark has integrated itself within the neighborhood as a new hub for the community.
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After the games, London Stadium was transformed by Populous into the new home of West Ham United, with a larger roof that covers every seat (Photo by Jason Hawkes/Populous)
Symbolizing the Industrial Revolution, sparks fly as the Olympic rings are forged, before rising over the crowd in the 2012 Opening Ceremony (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Usain Bolt celebrates after winning gold in the Men’s 200 meter Final, becoming the only person to win Olympic gold medals in both the 100 meter and 200 meter at consecutive Games (Photo by Kyodo News/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Olympic Stadium. Also known as The Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

In 2012, London became the first ever city to host the Summer Olympic Games for a third time. It was also London’s second time hosting the Paralympics, having been the first city to do so back in 1948. The idea of legacy was at the heart of Populous’ master plan for the Games — what would the venues become once the Olympic torch had been passed on? Applied to the design of the 80,000-seat London Olympic Stadium, that question took on even greater significance.

A balance had to be found between the short term spectacle of the Games and the enduring contribution the stadium would make to the local community. The answer was a compact, flexible and lightweight design, with a structure formed of demountable connections that would be easy to disassemble and transform once the games were over.

The design contributed to the success of the opening and closing ceremonies. Records were broken on the track and in the field. On what became known as Super Saturday, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah all won gold medals within 44 minutes of each other in front of their home crowd.

Since the Games, the stadium was redeveloped by Populous, taking on a new life as the home of West Ham Football Club. Flexible seating has allowed the stadium to retain its running track, and iconic elements from the Olympic venue, like the triangular lighting rigs, were reintegrated, ensuring the legacy of 2012 would endure.
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80,000 people watch Portugal and Switzerland battle it out in the Round of 16 (Photo by Maddie Meyer - FIFA/FIFA/Getty Images)
An Argentina fan displays his tribute to his hero ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final (Photo by Majka Hitij - FIFA/FIFA/Getty Images)
Angel Di Maria celebrates scoring the goal that put Argentina 2-0 up against France in the FIFA World Cup Final (Photo by Simon M Bruty/Getty Images)
Located in the futuristic cityscape of Lusail City, the Lusail Stadium was the largest venue at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with a capacity of 80,000. Populous was the designated sports architect for the stadium, with a brief that required a world-class match day experience, not just for the 80,000 spectators in the stadium, but also the billions watching at home.

In line with the design team’s overriding ambition to generate the best atmosphere, the seating bowl is a ‘radial’ single saddle bowl, consisting of three distinct continuous tiers, which, when occupied, create an experience that is connected and compact around the field of play. This shape puts spectators as close to the field as possible to encourage a heightened atmosphere and the most intimate and immersive experience imaginable.

A highly legible wayfinding and overlay strategy was developed, ensuring that this complex national stadium was easy for thousands of spectators to navigate, despite it being their first visit.

On Dec. 18, 2022, Lusail Stadium staged what many regard to be the most entertaining World Cup Final ever. With the game tied 3-3 after extra time, Argentina defeated France in the subsequent penalty shootout and Lionel Messi would stake his claim as the greatest player of all time.
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With the first retractable roof in the southern hemisphere, Marvel Stadium has been able to attract a wide variety of events to Melbourne’s Docklands (Photo by Brett Price/VW Pics/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)
During UFC 193, Mark Hunt meets Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva in the Octagon (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images)
Taylor Swift performs in front of a capacity crowd in 2018 (Photo by Don Arnold/TAS18/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Docklands Stadium. Also known as Colonial Stadium, Telstra Dome and Etihad Stadium.

Marvel Stadium boasts the first retractable roof in the southern hemisphere. It boasts the first application of moving tier technology in the region, too. Populous included both features in the design to answer one key component of the brief; that the stadium had to be capable of a huge amount of flexibility. It’s clear from the staggering diversity of events that have taken place within the venue that the brief was met.

Five AFL teams call Marvel Stadium home, as do the Melbourne Renegades of cricket’s Big Bash League, both using the oval seating layout. With the tiers moved closer to the field, the stadium supports A-League soccer matches and National Rugby League matches, and hosted games at the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The WWE, UFC and even the 2015 Speedway Grand Prix of Australia have been held inside the arena, as have concerts staged by everyone from Adele and Taylor Swift to Foo Fighters and AC/DC.

Marvel Stadium was a keystone development for the regeneration of the Docklands precinct on the edge of Melbourne’s CBD, and designed by Populous in a joint venture with Bligh Lobb Sports Architecture and Daryl Jackson Pty Ltd. The closing roof fundamentally affected the nature of the live spectator experience and the range of events the stadium could host. Its impact on spectator comfort, creating atmosphere and containing light and noise breakout can’t be overestimated.
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Katy Perry performs onstage with the Australian team after their victory over India in the Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup Final in 2020, with a record crowd of 86,174 (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Richmond players and fans celebrate after winning the AFL Grand Final in 2020 (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Since the redevelopment, each of the 100,000 seats has clear uninterrupted sightlines to the field (Photo by Scott Barbour - CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)
Also known as The MCG or The G

Every cricket fan is familiar with the Melbourne Cricket Ground, or the MCG. It’s one of the oldest and largest capacity sports grounds in the world. Each year, it’s home to the AFL Grand Final and the Boxing Day Cricket Test — two of the biggest events in the Australian sporting calendar.

Working as part of a team of five architects, Populous redeveloped the stadium to bring it in line with modern international standards, while making sure the ground retained all the prestige and tradition for which it is famed. A major feature of the redevelopment involved the Australian Gallery of Sport, which was relocated and expanded as part of the new National Sports Museum, a seven-day attraction featuring interactive exhibits.

The stadium is open and transparent, with views of the city and into Yarra Park. Each of the three entrances features a grand glass atrium, with new escalators that take patrons to the upper levels. Constructed of metal and glass, a new hybrid roof provides spectators with shelter. The seats themselves are much closer to the field, and each one boasts sightlines that are completely unobstructed — no mean feat for a capacity of 100,000.
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Portugal’s Joao Sousa serves to Britain’s Andy Murray in the third round of the 2016 Australian Open (Photo by Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images)
With its distinctly pleated roof, Margaret Court Arena stands out next to Rod Laver Arena (Photo by Ethan Rohloff/Populous)
The arena foyer maximizes views to the surrounding precinct and exposes the internal activity to passersby (Photo by John Gollings/Populous)
Also known as Margaret Court Arena and John Cain Arena.

The redevelopment of Margaret Court Arena was commissioned by the Victorian Government following a masterplan by Populous and NH Architecture for the Melbourne and Olympic Parks. Set next to Rod Laver Arena, the primary requirement was that the three-year construction didn't disrupt the Australian Open Grand Slam. That meant meticulous planning, including staged handovers for each tournament in the interim. The arena's standout feature is its retractable roof — the fastest closing roof in Australia — capable of shutting completely in under five minutes. This rapid action minimizes disruption to play, so players can get back out on court quickly.

The innovative pleated roof design reduces both the depth and visual bulk of the building. The arena’s versatility extends to the roof’s ability to fold down to pedestrian level, providing shade to the surrounding concourse and public realm. The venue's large glazed areas offer breathtaking views of the parkland while allowing passers-by to glimpse its internal architecture and spaces.

Since it opened, Margaret Court Arena has hosted an array of events, including the biggest esports tournament ever held in Australia. It has hosted home matches for the Melbourne Vixens netball team and Melbourne United basketball team, and concerts featuring artists including Delta Goodrem, Demi Lovato, Hilltop Hoods and Angus & Julia Stone.
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Mimicking the iconic film, players emerge from between rows of corn stalks (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
The success of the event saw a follow up in 2022, when the Chicago Cubs took on the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Michael Reeves/Getty Images)
The Chicago White Sox’s Lance Lynn pitches to the Yankees (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)
If you build it, they will come. It might be one of the most misquoted lines in movies (it’s actually ‘he will come’) but for the MLB at Field of Dreams game it couldn’t be more appropriate. This regular season matchup between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox had a serious twist. Hosted at the ‘Field of Dreams’ movie site in Dyersville, Iowa, Populous steered the master plan of the event to bring this MLB vision to life, connecting the original filming location and the new regulation field through a full design process, providing the feasibility study, design of the ballpark and supporting structures, in addition to the event and transportation services.

Populous’ meticulous planning accounted for broadcasting and press operations, sponsorship, transport, security and ceremonies. The team also implemented comprehensive signage plans for wayfinding, as well as the overlay plans. Populous provided in-game and on-site operations staff to ensure the event ran smoothly, as it has for other large-scale events, like the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Super Bowl and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

MLB at Field of Dreams was the most-watched regular season MLB game in 16 years, attracting 5.9 million viewers, while BaseballParks.com and USA TODAY Sports both named it the 2021 Ballpark of the Year.
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Designing all the buildings in the park at the same time allowed the team to unify them with a distinct visual theme (Photo by Populous)
The opening ceremony of China’s 10th National Games in 2005 (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)
Steeplechasers compete in the Men's 2000 meter Final of the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)
Nanjing Sports Park is one of the largest sports projects ever completed in Asia. Originally designed for the China National Games in 2005, the park includes a 60,000-seat stadium, 11,000-seat arena, aquatic complex, tennis center and outdoor sports fields. The venues sit on the riverfront, linked together by an elevated podium, so spectators can move between them without needing to enter the park below. That means the park spaces can be used by the public even during major events.

Awarded the IOC/IAKS Gold Medal for design in 2007, the park has become a model for future sports parks in China. As modern buildings grow around it, the sports park has formed the core of a new city, with all the services and transport infrastructure required to make the ‘stadium city’ thrive.

Since opening, the main stadium has hosted regular soccer games as well as major theatrical performances. An ice-skating rink was built beside the gymnastics hall, and other activities, like an outdoor beach, a golf driving range and a manmade lake, have sprung up. The stadium also hosted the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics, as well as all the athletic events, with other events held at venues across the park.
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The stadium stands as an icon for Ahmedabad, for India, and for cricket globally (Photo by Destination Photographers/Populous)
Crowds gather to watch the final of the Indian Premier League between Gujarat Titans and Chennai Super Kings (Photo by SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Day One of the Fourth Test match between India and Australia in March 2023 (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
Populous knows a thing or two about designing cricket venues. The team has been involved with projects at Lord’s, Edgbaston and the Oval in England, Sky Stadium in New Zealand and the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia — which was the world’s largest cricket venue, until the Narendra Modi Stadium surpassed it.

In India, no sport can match cricket for popularity, so filling such a colossal stadium wouldn’t be a problem. Accommodating 132,000 spectators inevitably presents challenges, though. First, you’ve got to get them safely into the ground. Here, the solution is ingeniously simple, using an elevated podium to separate fans from vehicular traffic, which flows underneath them. Next, you have the bowl, an impressive round, open shape, that gives every seat a perfect view of the action. Then you have the stadium’s investment in sustainability, from low-energy LED lighting, to a state-of-the-art drainage system that keeps rain delays as short as possible.

On Nov. 19, 2023, the stadium hosted its most significant event to date, the final of the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup. Narendra Modi Stadium isn’t just for major tournaments, though. Its ties to the community create an important part of its legacy, with an indoor cricket academy housed within the podium, and a dorm for 40 athletes that allows students from across India to attend it, developing India’s next generation of cricket stars.
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Team Netherlands skates during the Women's 5000 meter at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Mid-race during the Women's Mass Start Semifinals at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Twenty-two strands of light wrap around the speed skating oval, creating a new nighttime landmark (Photo by Yang Zhang CCDI/Populous)
Also known as NSSO and the Ice Ribbon.

When Beijing was chosen as the host city for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, it was decided that a new venue was needed to act as a symbol for the games. This became the Ice Ribbon, an arena designed by Populous to stage the speed skating competitions.

Before the games were even underway, it was clear that a new Olympic icon had been created. A facade of 22 separate light strands flows up and around the Oval, mimicking the precise racing lines drawn by the skaters inside, celebrating the elegance, pace and dynamism of the sport. At night, each strand lights up, shifting colors in an endless array of configurations that draws crowds.

Inside, spectators packed out the Oval, charging the atmosphere from seats positioned right up against the track. They were able to see every movement and hear every sound of the skates gliding over the ice. And once all the medals had been won and the Games concluded, the Oval was transformed into a public skating ring, ensuring its legacy in developing the next generation of Chinese athletes.
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The Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins compete at Fenway Park in the 2023 Discover NHL Winter Classic (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Fireworks are set off during the National Anthem before the 2017 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Busch Stadium (Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)
The ‘NHL Outdoors At Lake Tahoe’ game, during the COVID-19 pandemic (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Back in 2008, the NHL started a fresh New Year’s Day tradition, bringing the game of hockey back to its roots as an outdoor sport. With that, the Winter Classic was born. The idea was simple, but the logistical challenge was more complex; dropping a regular season professional hockey game into a stadium required serious planning. Populous’ event designers drew on all their experience with large venues, mapping out everything from fan zones and broadcast setups, managing overlays and completing sightline studies so the rink would be perfectly placed in the stadium.

The result? An experience that has captured the imagination of fans across North America. It’s been such a hit that, in 2014, a record 105,000 fans packed out Michigan Stadium for that year’s event. And it hasn’t stopped there – this one-off game has evolved into an annual series of outdoor matches, including the Stadium Series, while 2021 saw Populous help the NHL defy the constraints of the pandemic by taking it to the beautiful shores of Lake Tahoe. In bringing the heart and soul of hockey to an even bigger stage, the Winter Classic has completely changed the game.
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Home to the Houston Texans, NRG Stadium was the first NFL stadium with a retractable roof. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Sunlight streams through the glass facade as the Houston Texans take on the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012 (Photo by John Biever/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)
Beyoncé performing for her hometown fans during the Formation World Tour in 2016 (Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Reliant Stadium.

Home to the Houston Texans, NRG Stadium became the first in the NFL to have a retractable roof when it opened in 2002. While the roof’s main function is to protect the crowd from the elements, when closed it creates an intimacy you’d usually only find in a large indoor arena, electrifying the atmosphere.

Populous designed the stadium’s facade to be as transparent as possible, installing large glass curtain walls that allow sunlight into the building. The same goes for the roof, which is made up of steel-hinged frames wrapped in a translucent fabric that allows in natural daylight, and acts as acoustic insulation, reflecting the noise of the Texans’ fans.

The designers also paid special attention to the playing surface, using an innovative grass porous pavement, which is ideal for football, but works well for soccer, too, and gives the stadium the flexibility to host events like the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo — the largest livestock exhibition and rodeo in the world. With two Super Bowls already under its belt, the NRG Stadium will host multiple matches at the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
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Wizkid performs at The O2 Arena in 2021 (Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage/Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic serving in a practice session during previews for the ATP World Tour Finals (Photo by Julian Finley/Getty Images)
Take That perform with a 48-piece orchestra at the Wear The Rose Live concert in 2015 (Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage/Getty Images)
The Millennium Dome was a major addition to the London skyline, but once the Millennium Experience exhibition ended on Dec. 31, 2000, it seemed like nobody knew what to do with it. Suggestions included turning the structure into a business park, dismantling it and moving it to Swindon, or demolishing it entirely.

Enter AEG, who saw an opportunity to create the world’s number one entertainment destination. With the help of Populous, they’d achieve that goal. The biggest challenge presented by the project: constructing a 20,000-seat arena within the confines of the dome itself, like building a ship in a bottle. That meant the whole thing had to be designed so it could be built without the use of tower cranes, including the cores and roof system. No mean feat.

The venue has gone on to host some of the most significant events in sport and entertainment, from the first regular season NBA game to be played in Europe, to Anthony Joshua claiming his first world heavyweight title, to the Monty Python reunion show, which sold out in 43 seconds. All that, and it continues to be the biggest ticket-selling arena in the world, out-selling its nearest rival by almost 50%.
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The view from behind home plate, with San Francisco Bay in the background (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum in action in Game 1 of the 2010 World Series (Photo by Al Tielemans/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)
A nautical twist on the knothole gang, as fans anchor their boats in the bay to watch the game (Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Pacific Bell Park. Also known as SBC Park and AT&T Park.

Home to the MLB’s San Francisco Giants, Oracle Park epitomizes the urban ballpark. Populous made the most of its location within the San Francisco Bay to enhance the spectator experience. With one side of the ballpark open to the bay, it has created a unique twist on the knothole gang, with flotillas of boats turning up on game days to catch a glimpse of the action. Fans walk, take Bay ferries, water taxis, trains and even kayaks to the game. ‘Splash hits’ — when a Giants player smashes a home run into the water — have become a unique part of the stadium’s culture. There’s even an electric counter that keeps a running splash hit tally, which currently stands at 102.

In 2001, veteran Giants outfielder Barry Bonds hit his 73rd home run of the season at Oracle Park, setting a record for home runs in a single season that still stands. He would go on to hit his 756th home run on Aug. 7, 2007, to break the MLB career home run record.
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Byron Buxton of the Minnesota Twins hits a double against the Orioles in June 2023 (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)
The view from behind home plate, with downtown Baltimore in the background (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Running between the 19th-century former B&O warehouse and Camden Yards, Eutaw Street is a gathering place for fans and becomes a public plaza when a game isn’t in session (Photo by Patrick Ross/Populous)
Camden Yards is where the story of the modern ballpark begins. Before, most American baseball fans had to make do with multipurpose stadiums on the outskirts of town, surrounded by a sea of asphalt.

With one design, Populous changed all that. Oriole Park at Camden Yards embraced the city of Baltimore, occupying the site of a former rail yard downtown. To really weave the new stadium into the urban fabric, the designers opted to save a historic 19th-century warehouse from demolition, incorporating it into the design as space to house the team offices and support facilities. The beautiful brick building adds character that’s authentic to the local area, while Eutaw Street, which runs between the warehouse and Camden Yards, functions as a gathering place for fans, and a public plaza when a game isn’t in session, bringing the city and ballpark together.

Accounting for around $170 million in economic activity every year, Camden Yards set a precedent that other teams would follow — Populous has now designed 20 MLB stadiums.

In the words of former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, “Building Camden Yards was one of the most important things that happened to baseball in the last 25 years. It changed the whole dynamic… and allowed us to finally market our sport to its potential.”
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With 38,115 in attendance, the Philippine Arena set a record for a crowd at a FIBA Basketball World Cup match (Photo by Wu Zhuang/Xinhua/Getty Images)
The Philippine Arena has the capacity for 50,000 spectators inside, with room for another 50,000 people at a live site outside (Photo by Populous)
Member of Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) gather at the arena during their 100th anniversary (Photo by Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)
If designing the world’s largest indoor theater isn’t tricky enough, doing it in the tropical and humid climate of the Philippines makes things even harder. Throw an active earthquake zone into the mix, and the Populous team had their fair share of challenges to overcome.

Put simply, to build at this kind of scale, the boundaries of arena design have to be pushed. Giving 50,000 people a single focal point and creating a feeling of intimacy in such a vast space is almost impossible. The solution? A one-sided seating bowl shaped like a saddle, rising in the middle and sloping at the sides. This gives every seat a clear sightline, even as the arena’s setup changes to accommodate the needs of different events — everything from church services and award ceremonies to Basketball World Cup games and Harry Styles concerts.

For smaller events, special acoustic and thermal dividing curtains are used to separate the lowest tier of seats for a more intimate atmosphere. The building itself is invisibly sectioned into multiple structures to strengthen its earthquake resilience. The arena’s design was so inventive, it featured in the Discovery Channel documentary Man Made Marvels: Quake Proof.
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The Phoenix Convention Center’s design captures the intense colors and forms of the Southwestern expanse (Photo by Mark Delsasso/Populous)
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Congressional Black Caucus in 2015 (Photo by ISP POOL IMAGES/Corbis News/Getty Images)
The center is fully integrated within the downtown area (Photo by Mark Delsasso/Populous)
In the ‘70s, the opening of Phoenix’s original convention center, then known as Phoenix Civic Plaza, took place in a downtown that looked very different from today. Even when it was expanded in the ‘80s, the vibrancy of today’s city was still decades away. As the city of Phoenix planned a renovation of the convention center in the early ‘00s, they challenged Populous to integrate a building within the downtown area in a way that would reflect the spirit of the city.

The original convention center was elevated above street level, which disconnected it from the city streets. The new Phoenix Convention Center changed all that, with access on all sides of the building to welcome pedestrians from every direction. Populous’ design captures the intense colors and forms of the Arizona landscape. Shading structures reach out and hang over public streets. Grooved stone stair towers, representing natural desert spires, give the sensation of entering a canyon.

Since the renovation, the Phoenix Convention Center’s revenue has jumped 46%, thanks to its ability to host major events like the meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus in 2015. During the Super Bowls of 2015 and 2023, which were both staged at the nearby Populous-designed State Farm Stadium, the convention center formed the heart of a 12-block downtown festival, hosting the NFL Experience.
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The view from behind home plate, with the Roberto Clemente Bridge and the city skyline in the background (Photo by Matt Brown/Getty Images)
PNC Park sits up against the Allegheny River less than a 10-minute stroll from the Acrisure Stadium (Photo by Fred Vuich/Sports Illustrated Classic/Getty Images)
Drawing on the city’s strong ties with the steel industry, the material features heavily in the ballpark’s design (Photo by John Grieshop/Major League Baseball/Getty Images)
Between Acrisure Stadium and PNC Park, Pittsburgh boasts two of the most popular venues in U.S. sport. Home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park was named the Best of the Ballparks by Ballpark Digest in 2015, following several rounds of voting by MLB fans, and has continued to pick up the award year over year.

So what makes it special? Take a seat behind home plate and you’ll see how the Populous design capitalizes on the ballpark’s downtown location beside the Allegheny River, with the seating stands framing a spectacular view of the Roberto Clemente Bridge (named after the Pirates Hall of Famer) and the city skyline.

The stadium’s riverfront concourses and plazas allow it to blend into Pittsburgh’s urban landscape, making it a focal point for the passion of the Pirates’ fans, but also a cherished place where the public can visit and stroll along the river on non-game days.
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Ireland take on Canada in a pool match at the 2015 Rugby World Cup (Photo by Michael Steele/ Getty Images)
The crowd noise regularly reaches over 100db during matches – loud enough to drown out a helicopter directly overhead (Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile/Getty Images)
Built on a tight plot in Cardiff city centre, the stadium backs onto the beautiful River Taff (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Millennium Stadium.

Principality Stadium threw down the gauntlet when it made its grand entrance just in time for the Rugby World Cup in 1999, rising with futuristic flair in the heart of Cardiff. Nearly 25 years later, there are few venues that can match it for atmosphere, thanks to two key aspects of the Populous design.

First, there’s the bowl, which is more like a ravine, with steep tiers of seats cascading down to the field, putting every fan right on top of the action. Then there’s the stadium’s standout feature — its retractable roof, the first of its kind in the U.K. Rain or shine, the Welsh are ready. Using a special acoustic treatment to capture the roar of the crowd, the sound inside is like nothing else, rippling in waves onto the field. It’s been suggested the noise has been enough to turn matches, even causing a young Grand Slam-chasing England team to fall at the last hurdle in the 2013 Six Nations.

From the Rugby World Cup and UEFA Champions League Final, to the British Speedway Grand Prix and performances by The Rolling Stones, Principality Stadium has seen it all, standing tall as a beacon of Welsh pride and setting a lofty standard that other stadiums aspire to.
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Papua New Guinea players warm up before their Group A match in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup against Korea DPR (Photo by Maudie Meyer - FIFA/Getty Images)
The stadium honors local traditions, while opening up possibilities for the future of sport in Papua New Guinea (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Home fans watch on at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup (Photo by Scott Burrows Photography/Getty Images)
Also known as PNG National Football Stadium and Lloyd Robson Oval.

Sometimes a venue’s significance comes less from its design innovation than from what it symbolizes to a nation. There’s perhaps no better example of that than the 15,000-seat Santos National Football Stadium in Port Moresby, which has become a source of national pride for the people of Papua New Guinea, where rugby league is a huge part of the culture.

That’s not to say the design is without ingenuity. A relatively low budget meant the Populous architects had to devise clever solutions for the seating and the roof, so they could be produced to the highest quality for the lowest cost. The team also had to contend with the fact that Papua New Guinea had limited manufacturing capabilities. All the elements were designed so they could be fabricated abroad and then shipped into the country, including the steel support structures, modular seating and fabric roof.

Behind the scenes, the gym facilities, recovery areas, changing rooms and broadcast setup were all finished to international sports standards, meaning the stadium was ready for big events, like the Rugby League World Cup in 2017, when it hosted three matches in front of sold-out crowds.
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The dramatic shape of the pit and paddock building responds to the speeds on the track (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton gets ready on the grid at the British Grand Prix in 2023 (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton celebrates victory in the 2015 British Grand Prix (Photo by Hoch Zwei/Corbis Sport/Getty Images)
Silverstone is the traditional home of British motorsport, but when the circuit failed to get the rights for the F1 Grand Prix in 2008, a major upgrade of the track and facilities was undertaken.

Populous developed new computer software in-house that could simulate and test out new circuit designs. That led to a new section of track, which ramps up the drama of the race, challenging drivers physically and mentally through a high-speed, high g-force, right-left combination that offers three new opportunities for overtaking. Alongside this, the new 360-meter long pit and paddock building creates its own drama, with a sweeping roofline that echoes the track’s speed.

The result? The venue was completely transformed. The pit and paddock building has become a new landmark in motorsport. The track is now one of the longest and quickest on the F1 calendar. Not only did Silverstone retain the rights to host the British Grand Prix — which has been staged there every year since — it also gained a license to host MotoGP races.
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Covering 54,000 square meters, Sphere’s exosphere is the world’s largest LED display (Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
U2 opened Sphere, displaying its immersive curving 270-degree screen to full effect (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
Sphere is a backdrop visible from across the city of Las Vegas (Photo by Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
The Sphere attracts superlatives. When the venue’s design was first unveiled, it was met with disbelief. Even with today’s technology, such a bold structure — the largest spherical structure in the world — didn’t seem possible.

The building’s skin — its exosphere — is the world’s largest LED display, made up of 1.2 million puck-shaped LEDs covering 54,000 square meters, with a resolution of 19,000 by 13,500 pixels. Inside, a 15,000-square-meter LED screen wraps around the 17,500-seat arena. Comprising 268,435,456 pixels at 16K resolution, it’s the highest resolution LED screen in the world. Then there’s Sphere’s sound system, which houses more than 167,000 speaker drivers, with 99% of them hidden within the screen. Combined, they deliver a soundscape so immersive, every seat in the venue receives the same audio experience. Sphere contains multisensory 4D features too, with haptic feedback in 10,000 seats, and deployable wind, smoke, scent and moisture effects.

On Sept. 29, 2023, Sphere opened with a headline show from rock megastars U2. Both critics and fans responded with awe. Brad Auerbach of Spin, said, “The sound was fantastic. The video presentation was incomparable. It is doubtful any venue on this planet can match either aspect.” Rolling Stone called it, simply, “a quantum leap forward for concerts.”
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Rihanna performs during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The State Farm Stadium holds 63,400, which can be expanded to 72,200 for special events (Photo by Gene Lower/Getty Images)
Chris Snee, guard for the New York Giants, celebrates with his family after winning Super Bowl XLII in 2008 (Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)
Originally opened as Cardinal Stadium. Also known as University of Phoenix Stadium.

By the mid-2000s, the potential for retractable roofs to protect spectators from the weather and intensify the atmosphere of a game had been realized. Designing State Farm Stadium, Populous — in collaboration with New York architect Peter Eisenman — would take things a step further, introducing the first retractable field in North America. Natural turf wouldn’t survive within the walls of the stadium, so this unique feature was built in to allow a field of grass to grow outside in the sun, and then slide into the stadium for games. It also means events that don’t need turf, like concerts and conferences, can be held on the concrete beneath the retractable field system.

The stadium gave the Arizona Cardinals their first permanent home and brought a new source of pride to the community of Glendale, Arizona. Since opening in 2006, State Farm Stadium has hosted three Super Bowls, a clear sign of its success as a modern sports facility. Beyond the NFL, it hosted three matches of the 2016 Copa América Centenario soccer tournament, and college basketball’s Final Four in 2017. In 2010, it became the first venue in Arizona to stage the WWE’s Wrestlemania.
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Australian players celebrate the Matildas’ dramatic penalty shootout victory over France in the Quarter Final of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023 (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Suncorp Stadium is known as ‘the Cauldron’ thanks to its intense atmosphere (Photo by Ethan Rohloff/Populous)
The Queensland Maroons face off against the New South Wales Blues in the State of Origin series (Photo by Krystle Wright/Getty Images)
Originally known as Lang Park. Also known as The Cauldron.

The 52,500-seat Suncorp Stadium is located in an inner city residential area on the edge of Brisbane’s CBD. The focus of Populous’ design was to foster an unbeatable atmosphere, while reducing disruption to local residents. With spectators just six meters from the sideline at the closest point, it’s the most intimate stadium of its size in Australia. Despite its immense capacity, the low, flat roof stops the stadium from dominating the neighborhood’s skyline and contains the noise from the crowd, while enclosed sports lighting and low-impact exterior lighting reduce light spill. A service road has also been located beneath the stadium to lessen the impact of heavy vehicles on nearby streets. Populous developed an integrated urban design and transport strategy, focused on encouraging visitors to either walk or use public transport to reach the stadium. This included new public plazas, which linked the stadium with the surrounding suburbs, the new transport systems and the wider city, while providing an active precinct for use every day of the week.

Home to the NRL’s Brisbane Broncos, Suncorp Stadium hosted the NRL Grand Final in 2021, the final of the Rugby League World Cup twice, and multiple matches at the FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup. New team The Dolphins and the Brisbane Broncos share the venue during the NRL season. The Queensland Reds rugby union team, as well as the A-League’s Brisbane Roar, have also called the stadium home. Outside of sport, some of the biggest names in music have attracted sellout crowds at the venue, including Foo Fighters, The Police, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.
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Fireworks during the half-time show from Jennifer Lopez and Shakira at Super Bowl LIV (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Bill Walsh celebrates the second of his three eventual Super Bowl victories as Head Coach of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
The Kansas City Chiefs celebrate winning Super Bowl LVII. (Photo by Bo Baumgartner/Populous)
In 1967, the first Super Bowl unfolded in Los Angeles in front of a stadium with 32,000 empty seats. The pregame entertainment included a local high school drill team. You don’t need to be a football fan to recognize how much things have changed in the decades since. Populous has played no small part in that incredible transformation.

It all started in 1985 with Super XIX in Stanford Stadium, California. The San Francisco 49ers would take on the Miami Dolphins, which meant a faceoff between legendary quarterbacks Joe Montana and Dan Marino. The clash on the field was watched by a record audience, who would have no idea about the hard work put in by the Populous events team behind the scenes. Through months of meticulous planning, they ensured the dazzling spectacle went off without a hitch.

Since 1987, Populous has been involved in every Super Bowl, helping orchestrate thousands of elements — the stadium preparations, operations management, construction of game day facilities — most of which are invisible to fans and TV cameras. All that attention to detail means the spotlight falls exactly where it should: on the field.
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The rolling bands of metal of the south and west facades evoke the natural desert landscape (Photo by Jeff Goldberg with Esto/Populous)
Hats are thrown onto the ice after Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights scores his third goal in Game Five of the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Final (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
A 9,000-square-foot LED screen faces out towards the strip (Photo by Jeff Goldberg with Esto/Populous)
Think of Las Vegas, and two starkly contrasting environments come to mind: the glitz and glamor of The Strip, and the beauty of the surrounding desert expanse, rising to the Spring Mountains in the west. The Populous design for T-Mobile Arena draws inspiration from both.

To capture the high stakes excitement of Las Vegas Boulevard, the arena opens with an expansive glass facade and sweeping 9,000-square-foot LED screen. In contrast, the south and west facades respond to the natural landscape, featuring a solid skin that wraps the arena in rolling bands of metal to evoke the color and sedimentary layering of the desert mountains, while protecting the interior from the intense Nevada sun.

It’s a design that thinks beyond traditional premium spaces and seating bowl configurations, ready to host a wide variety of sports and entertainment. Boxing legend Canelo Alvarez has fought here eight times, while Tyson Fury successfully defended his WBC heavyweight title here against Deontay Wilder in 2021. It is now the official home to both the UFC and the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights — the first major sports franchise to represent Las Vegas. In 2023, the Golden Knights made history, winning the Stanley Cup in front of a sell-out crowd.
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Players emerge from the tunnel, shrouded in smoke (Photo by Alex Bierens De Haan/Getty Images)
The redeveloped stadium holds 102,500 fans (Photo by Christy Radecic/Populous)
The story of the 12th Man is a part of the Aggies’ rich history, dating back almost 130 years (Photo by Jack Gorman/Getty Images)
Texas A&M University first fielded a football team in 1894. Since then, the Aggies have developed a rich and storied history. Their home, Kyle Field, was built in 1927, and although it had been through several renovations over the years, it needed a major redevelopment to bring it up to date. Populous crafted a bold vision that combined the university’s legacy with a vision for the future of Aggie football. The biggest challenge the architects faced? It all had to be completed in just 22 months.

Home advantage is everything. To ramp up the noise levels and fuel the intimidation factor, the playing field was lowered, the seating moved closer to the action and the four corners of the stadium were filled in to increase capacity and stop the sound of the fans escaping. Canopies were added, amplifying the roar even more, adding to the most daunting environment in all of collegiate athletics.

It’s the biggest redevelopment in college football history and it was delivered on time, meaning the Aggies could play in their beloved home without interruption. Kyle Field now serves as a living monument to the unique culture and history of Texas A&M.
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The new stand seats 2,674 spectators (Photo by Morley von Sternberg/ Populous)
The unique roof gives the stand its own clear personality within the campus (Photo by Morley von Sternberg)
Even during a heavy downpour, spectators in the stand remain dry (Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)
Known as the Home of Cricket, Lord’s Cricket Ground has plenty of tradition – but it isn’t a traditional stadium. The stands that surround the field each have a separate identity that contributes to the character of the ground, like a cluster of buildings around a village green. Inserting a new structure into the ‘village,’ Populous had to give the Warner Stand its own clear and confident personality without dominating the overall composition.

The stand achieves this personality with its unique roof, a fan of cantilevered American white oak beams supporting a translucent tensile fabric that hadn’t been used before in European architecture. The exposed wooden beams hint at another feature of the stand: sustainability. Solar thermal and photovoltaic panels were incorporated within the roof to heat water and generate electricity, while rainwater is harvested and recycled. Combined with improvements in spectator experience, including better circulation, higher quality bars and restaurants and a fully-inclusive approach to accessibility, the new stand sits proudly within the Lord’s campus.

Since opening in 2017, the ground has hosted several international test matches, including two Ashes tests. In 2019, it staged the closest Cricket World Cup Final in history, with England eventually beating New Zealand by the finest of margins.
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Players celebrate the first Tottenham goal at the new stadium (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Seen here from the Tottenham High Road, the stadium development includes a new visitor center, housing the club shop, a museum, and a café. (Photo by Hufton + Crow/Populous
The Atlanta Falcons offence emerges for kick off during their NFL London match against the New York Jets in 2021 (Photo by Tom Jenkins/Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur’s old ground, White Hart Lane, contained over a century of memories, but it could no longer live up to the standards expected in modern soccer. Spurs deserved a home that could match the club’s history and its status in the Premier League and European soccer.

Its capacity of 62,850 makes the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium the largest club ground in London. It’s also the only stadium in the world custom built to stage both soccer and NFL games. The fully retractable turf field slides under the south stand to reveal a state-of-the-art artificial playing surface, turning Tottenham into the official home of the NFL in the U.K. With a host of additional bespoke NFL player, staff and media facilities, including purpose-designed locker rooms, the stadium hosts two regular season NFL games each year as part of an ongoing partnership between the league and Tottenham Hotspur. The retractable field system means it is perfect for other events too, such as a boxing heavyweight title clash between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk in 2022, and five sellout Beyoncé concerts in 2023.

Fan facilities are second to none. An on-site Beavertown microbrewery supplies the 65 meter Goal Line Bar, the longest bar in Europe, while the glass-walled Tunnel Club gives fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse of players making their way to the field. Populous designed the seating bowl to generate the best match day atmosphere in the Premier League, angling the stands at 35 degrees — the steepest recommended in U.K. guidelines — and bringing fans closer to the field than at any comparable ground. Add to that the south stand, a raucous single tier of 17,500 seats that reverberates sound around the stadium, and it’s a spectacular venue for Spurs and visitors alike.
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The grand plaza staircase creates an entrance unlike any other in the MLS (Photo by Tom Harris/Populous)
With a capacity of 26,000, TQL Stadium is one of the largest soccer-specific venues in the league (Photo by Doug Zimmerman/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
The facade is composed of over 500 fins, each connected to a one-of-a-kind LED lighting system (Photo by Tom Harris/Populous)
After two seasons in MLS, FC Cincinnati took a leap into the elite levels of the sport. With a capacity of 26,000, TQL Stadium is one of the largest soccer-specific stadiums in the league. Its impact, however, reaches far beyond that. The stadium honors and enriches soccer in the Queen City.

It all starts with a facade inspired by the kinetic energy of the club’s fan base. More than 500 vertical fins wrap the exterior, each one connected to a one-of-a-kind LED lighting system that produces dynamic motion sequences. The overall form reflects the tension between two teams about to take the field.

Inside, the fans are treated to a canopy that encloses the entire seating bowl and covers every seat in the house. Not only does the canopy bottle up their energy, it shields them from the weather. To the north, there’s The Bailey, an intimidating safe-standing section housing the club’s supporters — and to the southeast, a perfectly-framed view of the Cincinnati skyline.
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At full capacity, the stadium holds 41,149 fans (Photo by Tiffany Daniels with Mortenson Construction/Populous)
Dansby Swanson, former shortstop of the Atlanta Braves, looks on from third base (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Fans celebrate at a watch party outside Truist Park as the Braves clinch the 2021 World Series in Game 6 against the Houston Astros (Photo by Edward M. Pio Roda/MLB Photos/Getty Images)
Originally opened as SunTrust Park.

Populous designed the new home of the Atlanta Braves to appeal to every kind of baseball fan, from the hardcore devotees to casual fans just looking to hang out with friends on a sunny day.

Truist Park weaves together classic Southern hospitality and modern technology, creating a fan experience that feels distinct to the venue. From the Xfininty Lounge’s rooftop patio, to the first zipline and climbing tower in a major league ballpark, there’s something for every generation of fan.

Up top, the largest canopy in the big leagues protects the crowd from the elements, while reflecting their cheers back down to the field for a more intense atmosphere. The three overlapping seating decks place fans over the action, with views of the field that are second to none.

Truist Park has set the bar for hospitality for the next generation of MLB ballparks and the Braves’ revenue jumped 69% after two years of calling it home. In 2021, they won the World Series for the first time in 26 years.
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LeBron James of the Miami Heat shoots against Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Delegates react as incumbent President Bill Clinton finishes his nomination speech at the 1996 Democratic National Convention (Photo by Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service/Getty Images)
The crowd goes wild as the Chicago Bulls claim their fourth NBA Championship title (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
During the ‘90s, the Chicago Bulls were on top of the world. Led by Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and coach Phil Jackson, they won six NBA championships between 1991 and 1998, with two runs of three consecutive titles. The second of those three-peats happened while they were playing out of their new home, the United Center, designed by Populous.

The largest arena in the NBA, it’s also home to the Chicago Blackhawks NHL team, who have won the Stanley Cup three times since they moved into the venue. Between the United Center’s two main occupants, that’s a seriously impressive trophy cabinet.

The arena itself replaced the old Chicago Stadium, which was a landmark in its own right, but lacked the facilities players and fans expect in the modern era. Populous ensured the new venue retained the prestigious character of the old building, emulating its vaulted roof and carefully crafting the acoustics to amplify the ‘The Roar’ that had made Chicago Stadium famous.
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At 133 meters tall, the arch pierces the London skyline, adding a new icon to the city (Photo by Michael Regan - UEFA/Getty Images)
The 2023 FA Cup Final turns the stadium blue and red, as Manchester United face rivals Manchester City (Photo by Karl Bridgeman - The FA/The FA Collection/Getty Images)
England’s Alessia Russo is challenged by Giulia Gwinnett of Germany in extra time of the UEFA Women’s Euro 22 final (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)
The old Wembley Stadium was a global icon. From 1923, the FA Cup final was played beneath its twin towers. In 1948, it hosted the Olympic Games and the first ever Paralympic Games. Famously, 1966 saw the England men’s soccer team claim their first and only World Cup title. And, in 1985, over 40% of the world’s population was glued to their TV screens as the biggest names in music took to the stage for Live Aid. In the words of Brazilian soccer legend, Pelé: “Wembley is the cathedral of football. It is the capital of football and it is the heart of football.”

So, when the architectural heavyweight team of Populous and Foster + Partners was tasked with designing a replacement for such a revered ground, the need for modern, world-class facilities was clear. But, even more important, the new venue had to instill the same kind of magic that made the old Wembley so special. An arch 133 meters tall — the world’s longest single span roof support structure — would become Wembley’s new icon. But its function is more than aesthetic, holding up the 7,000 tonne roof, eliminating the need for pillars. Designed as a single bowl, the tiered seating holds 90,000 fans, each with more legroom than the seats in the royal box of the old Wembley.

Since opening, the FA Cup final has returned to Wembley. The stadium has hosted two Champions League finals, with a third coming in 2024. The 2020 UEFA European Men’s Football Championship and 2022 UEFA European Women’s Football Championship finals were both held there. Beyond soccer, it has staged sell-out NFL London Games since 2007, the annual Rugby League Challenge Cup final and concerts from legendary musicians, including Fleetwood Mac, Beyoncé, The Who and Blur.
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Andy Murray serves under the new Centre Court roof during his 4th-round round match against Stanislas Wawrinka in 2009 (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Fans attempt to catch the wristband of Novak Djokovic after he threw it towards them while celebrating his victory over Roger Federer in the 2015 Wimbledon men's final. (Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)
The new roof enabled night play on Wimbledon Centre Court for the first time (Photo by Ben Radford/Corbis Sport/Getty Images)
Centre Court is hallowed ground, where tennis legends are made and history has been written one rally at a time. But in 2009, this iconic venue penned a groundbreaking new chapter. Enter the retractable roof, a modern twist in a classic setting, ensuring rain no longer held up the epic grass-court battles.

This wasn't just about keeping players and fans dry. It was a statement. Wimbledon was embracing the future. Populous led a team that came up with a high-tech system capable of closing in under 10 minutes, using a translucent fabric skin that allows natural light to reach the court. With air flow regulating temperature and humidity, conditions would stay comfortable for players and spectators, keeping the drama firmly on the court and not in the skies.

But more than the technology, it’s the finesse with which it was integrated that stands out. The roof retains the elegance of Centre Court, ensuring the aesthetics of this shrine to tennis remain undisturbed. And when shut, it amplifies all the roars, groans, gasps and applause, ramping up the spectacle.

Since its introduction, the retractable roof has played host to some unforgettable twilight duels, including in 2012, when Roger Federer and Andy Murray contested the first Championship Final with the roof closed. Centre Court's redevelopment stands as a masterclass in preserving legacy while embracing progress.
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The Yankees celebrate winning the World Series at their new home in 2009 (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Shown in the foreground, the new Yankee Stadium is not just a proud resident of the Bronx, but a symbol of the entire City of New York (Photo by NurPhoto/Getty Images)
The stadium matches the field geometry of its predecessor (Photo by Christy Radecic/Populous)
The original Yankee Stadium, built in 1923, was one of the most iconic structures in sport. As it neared the end of its life in the early 2000s, Populous was set the challenge of designing not just a replacement, but a new American icon.

Most commentators thought it would be impossible to emulate the intangible glory of the old ballpark, but when the new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009, it forged a bridge between eras — a place where fans could revel in shared memories, just as new stories were being written in the ongoing narrative of America’s favorite pastime. Paying homage to ‘the house that Babe built,’ the ballpark is wrapped in four stories of limestone and granite, echoing the facade of its predecessor, while the field geometry matches that of the original.

The stadium ignited a transformation in the surrounding Bronx community, while injecting life into a franchise that arguably has the greatest history of any team in baseball. This new community spirit spurred the Yankees on to success. With a loyal fan base and a new ballpark, the team won the World Series during the new Yankee Stadium’s inaugural year.
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