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Rio Olympic Park masterplan, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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This article illustrates how AECOM’s sports group have been responsible for the design, planning and/ or management of more than 100 stadia and arenas around the world.

O n a sunny August afternoon

 

in Rio de Janeiro, the crowd gathered at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre erupted with cheers and excitement as plans for the 2016 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games took a leap forward. Following an international competition, which attracted 60 entries from eighteen countries, a team led by AECOM’s London office was announced winner of the task to masterplan Rio’s Olym- pic Park. Coordinated by Rio’s Municipal Olympic Company, the competition was held in partnership with the Insti- tute of Architects of Brazil (IAB) and will go down in his- tory as the first international architecture contest in Brazil. The winning bid for this prestigious project is focused on an area of approximately 180 hectares in the district of Barra de Tijuca, southwest of Rio — a beautiful setting, with the backdrop of mountains and overlook- ing the lagoon of Jacarepagua.

Regeneration & a Global Centre for Sporting Excellence

“Working with our partners, the designs grew from the idea of a new urban ecology deeply rooted in the

culture of Brazil,” said Bill Hanway, architect and leader of AECOM’s Rio bid team. “One of our strengths is the ability to draw from our broad expertise in masterplanning, sports architecture, and landscape architecture to deliver a unique and contextual solution for the specific chal- lenges in Rio.” The team included Daniel Gusmao Archi- tecture of Rio, Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Pujol Barcelona Architects, IMG Sports, and Expedition. Hanway contin- ued, “We imagine a new relationship between built form and environment based on sport, recreation, sustainabil- ity and ecology.”

 

AECOM and Rio’s vision for the future is not just to create a global stage for the Olympic and Paralympic Games of 2016, but also to create a successful legacy in a regener- ated district, with new homes, jobs, and places for leisure activities. It is also to become a global centre of sporting excellence, with a new Atlantica Forest park and a thriv- ing and beautiful waterfront.

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Mayor Eduardo Paes said at the announcement cere-

Design + Development group. “Our proposal for Rio is about understanding the City’s particular needs and using the energy and excitement of the Olympics as a

mony: “We are doing very well in our preparation for the Olympic Games, as this contest proves. Our concern is with the legacy that we will leave for the City. The Olym- pic Park will be a central facility of the Games, focusing on different sports. One of the aims of this competition was to think about how to occupy this area so that it will be possible to attract private funds for works that would be paid with public funds.” “A key element of the win for AECOM was our ability to use the same project team that worked on London’s Olympic Park and its legacy plans. Added to this was the venue design experience of our new Sports group,” added Jason Prior, Chief Executive of AECOM’s Planning

catalyst for long-term and widespread benefits and change.”

AECOM’s Evolution & Change

AECOM has been busy with its own change and evolution during the past few years. Achieved through a balance of key recruits, organic growth and the acquisition of a number of high-profile companies, AECOM has become a fascinating multidisciplinary international company. Start- ing out twenty-one years ago as a US-based engineering consultancy, it now employs international teams of econ- omists, planners, architects, landscape architects, urban designers, cost consultants, project and program manag- ers, management consultants, ecologists, hydrologists,

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A key element of the win for AECOM was our

ability to use the same project team that

worked on London’s Olympic Park and its legacy plans. Added to this was the venue design experience of our new Sports group. Our proposal for Rio is about

understanding the City’s particular needs and using the energy and excitement of the

Olympics as a catalyst for long-term and widespread benefits and change

— Jason Prior, Chief Executive, AECOM’s Planning Design + Development group.

archaeologists, transportation planners, and many more besides. Drawing together this international expertise, long- standing experience and spectrum of skills, AECOM launched its sports group this autumn. To meet the requirements of different projects, bespoke teams are created — sometimes comprising a full range of disci- plines and sometimes with individual specialists as appropriate. Peter Flint, AECOM’s Global Head of the sports group, said: “Anyone planning a sporting project or event, mega, large or small, can call on our teams and our unique col- laborative way of working from the start to finish of a project — from consultants leading the bidding process or economists looking at the feasibility of ideas, through to planners, sports venue architects, urban designers, landscape architects, structural and building services engineers, transportation, water and energy consultants, cost consultants, project and program managers.” Flint added that the global-local offer is crucial to a project’s success: “Working in more than 125 countries around the world, we bring a great deal of international experience to every project, which is always combined with local expertise. Projects take their inspiration from the locality, the culture and traditions; and our local teams and clients know they can draw on the skills, support and knowledge of a workforce of more than 45,000 people.”

Group Sports Experience and Capabilities

The track-record of experience within this Sports group is impressive, and spans more than five decades, includ- ing work on twelve Olympic Games and seven FIFA World Cups, along with an array of smaller events in a total of more than twenty countries. AECOM’s teams have been responsible for the design, planning and/or management of more than 100 stadia

and arenas around the world. Designed for performers at all levels, to hold spectator crowds from 10,000 to 90,000, in venues that are open, covered or with retract- able roofs, these single-use and multi-use venues accom- modate sports of all types from athletics, football, soccer and baseball to cycling, swimming, ice-skating, horse racing, motor racing, swimming and more. Among the greatest recent additions to AECOM’s sports capability are: the global, leading cost and project management firm Davis Langdon, which joined AECOM in 2010; in North America, the architecture firm Ellerbe Becket, which became part of AECOM in 2009; and in Europe, members of the former ArupSport group led by internationally renowned architect J Parrish, who joined AECOM this summer.

Exemplary Design

When it comes to sports architecture, there can be few teams that have worked on so many iconic and leading- edge sports projects as that headed by architect J Parr- ish, with a portfolio of landmark stadia, including Beijing’s “Bird’s Nest” Olympic Stadium in China, Munich’s Allianz Arena in Germany, the Singapore Sports Hub, FC Shakhtar’s Donbass Arena in Ukraine, and FC Valencia’s new Football Stadium in Spain. Parrish and his team are central to expanding AECOM’s creative and technical excellence in sporting venues. Their approach is to design from first principles, bringing together specialists in sports architecture, engi- neering, and environmental design, with masterplan- ning, urban and landscape design, and cost planning in multidisciplinary teams that work closely with clients, operators, event promoters and other specialists to cre- ate venues that are unique solutions for each site and its set of circumstances. Davis Langdon, an AECOM compa- ny, has a long history of working with Parrish and his

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Recent Work

team, so the recent moves to AECOM bring together teams which have been working successfully together for more than a decade Among the spectrum of specialist skills on offer, Parr- ish and his team are pioneers of using technology to support innovation, and enhance the design process, and results. One of the key tools developed by the team is bespoke software for parametric stadium and arena design. Parametric software makes it possible to produce complex designs directly as 2D and 3D models in a much shorter time-span than conventional CAD. Parrish said: "Using parametrics, we are able to explore the benefits or otherwise of many different design approaches and to achieve the best possible results in a fraction of the time that it used to take." He added that while computer-based design is essen- tial to his team’s work, they never lose sight of the bigger picture. “Tools such as our own software are useful of course, but they must be seen and used alongside a whole range of other issues such as environmental, eco- nomic and social sustainability, the spectator experience, and how the stadia and arenas relate to the wider urban context.”

To select just a few project examples from the significant AECOM portfolio of work is, of course, challenging. How- ever, the following projects display the range of work accomplished, services offered, and the overall expertise of the practice.

Spartak Stadium, Moscow, Russia

Construction is well underway on this 42,000-seat stadium for internationally renowned Russian football team Spar- tak, with AECOM engineers working on the structural and detailed design alongside architect Sport Concepts. "Our aim is to maintain the intimacy of a club stadium while providing a world-class design that meets FIFA World Cup standards," said AECOM's Project Director Peter Ayres. "This will be a technically innovative and modern stadium that endorses Spartak's reputation as one of Europe's leading clubs." “Teams of professionals from AECOM’s London and

Moscow offices are collaborating on the new stadium. It is a great example of our international capability in sta- dium design, coupled with local project management, to deliver a best-in-class facility,” added David Whitehouse, AECOM’s Managing Director of the Commonwealth of Independent States. AECOM is also completing a masterplan for the site, an old aerodrome, to include a 12,000 seat conference

 

arena, shopping area and other leisure facilities.

   

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FC Spartak Stadium,

Moscow, Russia.

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Mercedes Benz

Mercedes Benz  
 

Superdome,

Champions Square,

 

Louisiana Superdome Renovation, Louisiana, U.S.A.

New Orleans,

The renovation of the Louisiana Superdome, home of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints, after Hurricane Katrina was unprecedented: never has a U.S. stadium been so heavily damaged and rebuilt so quickly. The AECOM team not only repaired the venue to make it ‘football ready’ in just eleven months, but in future phases, enhanced its provisions and amenities to keep it ahead of current assembly and NFL stadium trends. Following a naming rights deal, the venue is now known as the Mercedes Benz Superdome. A related project — Champions Square — transformed an abandoned adjacent area into a vibrant, new entertain- ment district. It also creates a destination point that leads to a new grand stair, effectively giving the Superdome a new front door. The renovated Superdome has won the bid for major sporting events (including the 2013 Super Bowl and 2012 NCAA Final Four) and will continue to attract visiting fans, supporting the economic growth and sustainability of the city and region.

Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Louisiana, USA.

imAge credits - top: © philip gould; middle © shAnnon sheridAn And bottom inset © smg

gould; middle © shAnnon sheridAn And bottom inset © smg   The vision was to convert
 

The vision was to convert one of the largest islands in Abu Dhabi into an international leisure, event and world-class sporting destination, and home for 150,000 local residents. This vision was also to enable

 

  ”
 

— Tim McManus, Senior Vice President and Director of Program Management, AECOM.

cities, governments, universities, sport franchises and

teams are increasingly adopting a more comprehensive approach to the development of sporting facilities and major events. The benefits of a strategic approach are seen not just in the events themselves but in the 365- day-a-year experience and improvement to the local communities. AECOM’s goal is to establish a partnering

relationship for the long haul, from the initial planning,

to the opening ceremonies, and beyond

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Singapore Sports Hub, Singapore

Abu Dhabi to host the single largest sporting event in the emirate, the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The project’s timescale was just three years from start of the design to the first Formula One event. Phase 1 was to construct a motor racing circuit, with a marina and the iconic Yas Hotel, plus six additional hotels, the world’s largest covered theme park (Ferrari World), an 18-hole links golf course, and all new island- wide infrastructure and utilities. Davis Langdon, an AECOM company, provided cost- management advice to a client who was new to con- struction and in a market with rapidly rising costs. This advice was not only on a wide range of buildings, struc- tures and construction types, but also on all professional fees and specialist services required for the project. Exec- utive cost-management advice was also provided along with independent auditing of costs and procurement for all parts of the project. This was to assist the existing delivery team, which was focusing on the rapid execu- tion of the many different works packages required. This project was delivered on time and within budget and the successful ETIHAD Airways Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix was held on 1 November 2009.

As masterplanner and landscape architect for the Singa- pore Sports Hub, AECOM is creating a parkland setting for the 35-hecatre (86-acre) waterfront site that will encompass Singapore's new national stadium, multipur- pose indoor arenas, an Olympic standard aquatic centre, watersports facilities, a sports library and museum, as well as retail, restaurant and entertainment space. Before joining AECOM, J Parrish and his architecture team designed the main stadium, multipurpose arenas and aquatic centre when they worked for Arup. The

project was conceived by the Singapore government as part of a campaign to make sport accessible to all, to improve quality of life, strengthen its economy, and increase its regional influence and international profile and reputation. The masterplanning and landscape architecture will be responsible for successfully integrating the mix of uses to create a vibrant and well connected zone with opportunities for the public to engage in sport and exer- cise from lawn bowling to cycling. Where potable water is scarce, landscape architecture is used to manage and capture storm water for treatment and re-use. Davis Langdon provided cost-management services on the

and capture storm water for treatment and re-use. Davis Langdon provided cost-management services on the scheme.

scheme.

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Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

imAge: dAvis lAngdon, An Aecom compAny

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Catalyst for Positive Change

A A GAME GAME

International sporting events transform com- munities and cities into world stages — but what happens when the games have ended and the crowds have gone home? “Legacy planning is important in the early strategic and masterplanning process, as well as in the implementation. It will determine whether investment in a major event has a pos- itive and lasting impact on the area,” advised Jason Prior of AECOM’s Planning Design + Devel- opment group. The masterplan that secured London's bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games placed as its primary driver the long-term urban regeneration of one of the United Kingdom's most economically and environmentally challenged areas. The crea- tion of one of Europe’s largest new parks is the focal point for investment and development. “Provision for the Games formed only the final phases of a scheme that sought to give the Lower Lea Valley 35,000 new homes, 50,000 new jobs, schools, healthcare facili- ties, community centres, sporting amenities, improved transit and pedestrian connectivi- ty, ample public open and green space with access to riverfront and canal space, and dense, vibrant, mixed-use nodes of economic opportunity,” said Prior. With the Olympic Park now nearing completion, AECOM leads a broad consortium formulating the Legacy Communities Scheme, which delivers the potential embodied in the masterplan that won London the Games by guiding the transition to post-games development. Beyond the complexities of the built and natural environments, is the challenge of managing stakeholder and public involvement in the planning process. Prior explained that the London Olympics project, “Represents the very best in collaborative working with many diverse groups, including the United Kingdom Olympic Delivery Authority, the government and communities of five bor- oughs, and a vast array of consultants”. Davis Langdon first assisted the London 2012 consor- tium by validating the bid and assessing risks and oppor- tunities for the government prior to its signing the guarantees. It then went on to secure program manage- ment responsibilities, within CLM, the delivery partner, capitalising on existing knowledge and experience to see the project through to construction, providing cost, value, risk, and supply chain management for the entire development. Tim McManus, AECOM Senior Vice President and Director of Program Management, noted that, “cities, governments, universities, sport franchises and teams

masterplanning process, as well as in the implementation.

It will determine whether investment in a major event has

a positive and lasting impact on the area

— Jason Prior, Chief Executive, AECOM’s Planning Design + Development group.

Legacy planning is important in the early strategic and

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are increasingly adopting a more comprehensive approach to the development of sporting facilities and

and fitness facilities to local communities. Centres of sporting excellence attract the best coaches and instruc- tors who can inspire people of all ages and abilities in

major events. The benefits of a strategic approach are seen not just in the events themselves but in the 365- day-a-year experience and improvement to the local communities. AECOM’s goal is to establish a partnering relationship for the long haul, from the initial planning, to the opening ceremonies, and beyond.”

Future Trends in the Global Sports Market

local communities to participate in sports and exercise and general wellbeing.

TrEnDS in STADiuM DESign: AECOM predicts a growth in the number of major venues that provide a comfortable environment for spectators and players 365 days a year even in harsh climates. These structures may incorporate features such as artificial pitches and closing roofs to deal with the extremes. Year-round use helps secure financial viability of these projects. Multipurpose venues available for use by local communities are also increas- ing in popularity, and greater integration into urban areas is a growing requirement too.

As the integrated AECOM team looks to the future, the Group believes the following issues will be of key impor- tance in the development of global sporting events, new sports venues, or repositioning of existing facilities:

SPOrTS wiTh A lEgACy: By understanding the needs of the local community, and by making the most of oppor- tunities and challenges, sports events can act as a cata- lyst for positive and broader change. They can put run-down areas in the spotlight, stimulate local invest- ment, inspire local confidence and energy, and provide a focus that people can participate in and take pride in.

S PO r TS A n D TEC hn O lO gy: To compete with the prolifera- tion of giant 3D screens at home, the goal for clients and their designers is to improve all aspects of spectator experience and, above all, the joy of being there. We will see the introduction of more technology into venue design, providing systems that allow spectators to replay the action on their own TV monitors, to order food, drinks and souvenirs from their seats, and much more.

SPOrTS wiTh SuSTAinAbiliTy: Not just about rating sys-

tems, economic, environmental and social sustainability in sports creates a long-lasting legacy. AECOM are seeing growing numbers of clients engaging multidisciplinary teams, seeking support with developments that provide wider opportunities in urban regeneration or whole new communities; climate-change mitigation; advice on and provision of energy, water, and public open space; and transportation consultancy.

SPOrTS wiTh hEAlTh AnD wEllbEing: Along with the

SPOrTS AnD buSinESS ViAbiliTy: Post-economic down-

turn, we have seen greater pressure on sports businesses to have stronger balance sheets and to rely less on debt finance. This, in turn, requires owners to use their asset better, to understand the multiple and complex financial drivers and balance them with diverse user require- ments. A deep understanding of all the financial viability issues for each location and circumstance is essential to new developments. Only time will tell what the future holds for the sec- tor, but we will watch with excitement as all the drama of the game, on and off the pitch, unfolds.

regenerative potential of sports developments comes the positive impact of providing easily accessible sports

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Above: London Olympics Legacy Communities Scheme, London, UK.

imAge: Aecom

Opposite page: London Regeneration Collage, London, UK.

imAge: Aecom, Allies & morrison, Kc Ap