Populous uses Autodesk software and services to create structures where people can meet, watch, and enjoy.
For 25 years, the design professionals at Populous have been creating spectacular sports stadiums, conference centers, and other structures where people can gather to cheer athletes or do business. Despite its long history, in some ways Populous is brand new. In 2009, the former HOK Sport Venue Event became an independently owned design practice. Offering comprehensive design services, including sports and exhibition center architecture, master planning, events planning and overlay, sustainable design consulting, and facilities operation analysis, the newly renamed Populous is continuing to do what it does best: drawing people together.
Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Populous employs about 500 people worldwide. The company’s client list includes some two dozen Major League Baseball (MLB) franchises, 30 National Football League (NFL) teams, 40 soccer and rugby squads, 80 professional and civic arena clients, and 120 colleges and universities. Recent projects have included Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, New York, and Citi Field in Queens, New York, the new home of the New York Mets. The company has also been behind the innovative sustainable designs of facilities such as the ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia, built for the world’s first Green Games in 2000; the eco-friendly 2012 Olympic Stadium in London; and Nationals Park, home of baseball’s Washington Nationals and the first professional sports stadium to achieve LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification.
A long-time customer and working partner with Autodesk, Populous is embracing change and strengthening its relationship with the software company. In addition to its use of AutoCAD® Architecture software and Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design software for 3D modeling and visualization of stadiums, Populous entered into an Enterprise License Agreement with Autodesk to provide global deployment of additional Autodesk products. To help with smooth deployment, Populous also joined the Autodesk Production Assurance program, an Autodesk Consulting prepaid service that provides software assessment, configuration, deployment, and optimization services.
With many complex building projects under way at any one time, Populous must be able to model buildings quickly, create accurate documentation, and collaborate efficiently with other engineering firms and consultants.
“Populous projects continue to grow in size and complexity,” says Brad Albers, associate principal at Populous. “Increasingly, we’ve been challenged by the sheer number of design and engineering consultants with whom we collaborate. With Autodesk software, we are able to more easily integrate diverse work into a single software platform that we can then share with the rest of the project team.”
One of the many challenging projects currently on the boards at Populous is the new Marlins Ballpark, the uniquely styled complex slated to become home field to the MLB Florida Marlins in 2012.
Equipped with an 8,300-ton retractable steel roof, Marlins Ballpark poses several unique challenges to Populous. “This is definitely not your typical building,” says Albers. “The ballpark’s complex form and retractable roof go beyond what even we might expect for a sports facility. More traditional methods of design development and documentation would have made things much more difficult, particularly when collaborating with a diverse team of design and trade firms sharing a multitude of files.”
The primary architectural tool used on the Marlins Ballpark and other Populous projects is AutoCAD Architecture software, the architecture-specific version of the AutoCAD® software application. In addition to providing an environment familiar to a broad base of skilled users, AutoCAD Architecture makes it easier to exchange information, share designs, and accelerate project review cycles among members of extended project teams. Populous also uses Autodesk 3ds Max Design software for visualization and for creating photorealistic building renderings together with real-time walkthroughs and animations.
According to Populous, however, use of Autodesk software also has benefits beyond the project design phase. “Once a project enters the construction phase, we’ve noticed that contractors are embracing Building Information Modeling (BIM) for their scheduling and coordination efforts,” says Albers. “Our ability to contribute to that effort through AutoCAD Architecture is ultimately assisting the complete project, well beyond the design and documentation phases.”
To support the Populous effort to create ever-more inspiring complexes that draw people together, the company entered into an agreement with Autodesk Consulting and the Autodesk Production Assurance service.
“Autodesk Consulting and the Production Assurance team have helped us analyze Populous’ future software directions, and they’ve assisted us in achieving greater efficiency through training and custom setup of our Autodesk software products. Autodesk Consulting has been fundamental in the achievement of our goals and has helped us raise the bar for the production of future designs,” says Christopher Michael Meehan, application and training administrator at Populous.
For his part, Albers sees even greater possibilities going forward. “Using Autodesk products and services helps us to work seamlessly within our own company,” he says. For example, the Populous office in Nashville, Tennessee, focuses primarily on facilities operations. Albers can provide that team with documentation and models that optimize operations of facilities after project completion. In the future, says Albers, “We will always use the very best tools available to accomplish our goals.”
For more information about Autodesk Consulting, visit www.autodesk.com/consulting.