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HOK buys US firm 360 Architecture

The newly expanded global outfit is set to go head-to-head against Populous - once its own sports division

Global giant HOK has launched an ambitious bid to move back into sports architecture by purchasing US specialist 360 Architecture.

The firm paid an undisclosed sum to acquire the practice, which has 180 employees based in offices in Kansas, California and Ohio, as part of the firm’s strategy to relaunch its sports and entertainment division.

In 2008, HOK saw its then sports division HOK Sport break away and rebrand as Populous.

At the time, HOK and Populous signed a non-compete clause which forbade HOK from working in sports architecture for a period of five years, and from Populous from bidding for work outside sports architecture for the same period. The non-compete clause expired at the end of 2013.

HOK has already taken preliminary steps to re-enter the sports market this year with the appointment of John Rhodes as director of sport and entertainment architecture at its London office in January.

Rhodes had previously worked for Populous where he led the design of the First Direct Arena in Leeds, as well as the new layout of the Silverstone Circuit and pit facility in Northamptonshire. Rhodes has also worked with HOK on the masterplan for Dubai’s 2020 World Expo.

With 1,600 employees in 23 offices globally HOK will give 360 Architecture access to international opportunities while HOK has acquired a ready-made specialist sports division to provide expertise on new projects.

360 Architecture has already worked on a number of high-profile sports projects in the US including the design for a multipurpose stadium in Atlanta boasting a retractable roof, the renovation of the Sun Life Stadium for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins as well as the masterplan for the Basra Sports City in Iraq which includes a 65,000-seat stadium.

Brad Schrock, senior principal at 360 Architecture, said: ‘Joining HOK enables us to take advantage of an exceptionally strong global platform and to expand our sports facility design practice while offering our clients additional expertise in other markets.

‘We expect continued long-term growth.’

HOK president Bill Hellmuth said: ‘360 Architecture is a progressive design firm that has helped lead the transformation of sports architecture. These facilities have evolved into true destinations that are integrated into the urban fabric and are key components of vibrant, healthy cities.’

360 Architecture was founded in 2004 through the merger of CDFM2 Architecture and Heinlein Schrock Stearns. The acquisition by HOK is expected to be finalised by the end of October.

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