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Maker of memories
Mark A. Williams, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Director of Business Development, HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, discusses the essential elements of contemporary stadium design, why technology is the future and how destinations can be made memorable
What services does your company offer to the industry?
HKS Sports & Entertainment Group creates memorable destinations that generate excitement, revenue and energy. The firm provides architecture, planning, urban design, interiors, event planning, branding and sponsorships and environmental graphics services. The firm’s designs are redefining and setting the standard for sports and entertainment venues on a global stage. HKS’s projects are award-winning designs that are favourites of fans and owners alike.
Could you tell us an interesting fact about your company?
HKS holds the distinction of designing two consecutive Super Bowl venues including Cowboys Stadium in 2011 and Lucas Oil Stadium in 2012.
What trends do you see emerging in your particular sector of the stadium industry?
We see greater integration of technology. In addition, collegiate venues are adopting pro-environment features, increasing opportunities for sponsorships, year-round events and better overall environments. We are also noting a greater emphasis on green and sustainable strategies.
Can you tell us about a recent success story for your company?
The United States Green Building Council awarded the University of North Texas’ Apogee Stadium a LEED Platinum Certification, making it the first stadium in the nation to achieve the highest level of LEED certification.
What new technologies or strategies have you used in any recent projects?
HKS switched on the world’s largest 1080p HDTV video board at Cowboys Stadium. Weighing 600 tonnes, the screens are suspended 90ft directly over the centre of the playing surface and stretch from nearly one 20-yard line to the other. The innovative technology gives every fan a great seat and the view is better than watching a 60in. HDTV in your living room. Cowboys Stadium also features the largest retractable end zone doors in the world. Each has a five-leaf, clear, retractable opening measuring 120ft high by 180ft wide. The five 38ft panels take only 18 minutes to open or close. In addition, the University of North Texas’ Apogee Stadium includes three wind turbines that feed the electrical grid that powers the stadium. Using a US$2 million grant from the State Energy Conservation Office, Apogee Stadium is the first collegiate stadium designed to incorporate onsite renewable wind energy.
What’s your favourite stadium/sports venue and why?
It is a combination of many game-changing venues ranging from the award-winning Cowboys Stadium; to the fan-focused Arizona Salt River Fields at Talking Stick; to the first US LEED Platinum stadium at the University of North Texas.
Where do you see the stadium market in 10 years’ time?
The sports market continues to be strong. HKS Sports & Entertainment Group continues to seek architectural opportunities both domestically and internationally. The US market will be highlighted with renovations to existing facilities and increases in construction for the collegiate market. We also believe the global market will continue to thrive.
HKS Sports & Entertainment Group will be exhibiting at Stadia Design & Technology Expo 2012, 8-10 May 2012. Visit the company at Booths 2042 and 3042