Architect Hired for Buffalo Bills Stadium
While a final stadium deal has yet to be announced for the National Football League’s New York-based Buffalo Bills, it was recently announced that the team working on the project hired global architectural and design practice Populous to design the proposed facility.
If approved, the new $1.354 billion open-air stadium would house more than 60,000 people and could potentially be open for the 2026 NFL season. The team plans to build the stadium across from the Bills’ existing facility in Buffalo’s suburb of Orchard Park.
About the Stadium
When talks first started taking place regarding the renovation of the original stadium, which opened in 1973, the Bills were informed that it would be too expensive to upgrade the facility. As a result of the news, last summer the team started to consider an extensive line-by-line monetary breakdown of a new, proposed facility.
Although there were no actual renderings of what the new stadium might look like, the team told reporters that it only planned to hire a firm after an agreement was reached. Yet, as the Bills and their parent company, Pegula Sports and Entertainment, continue to negotiate with the state and county over project funding, an announcement was made that they’d hired architecture firm Populous.
The Buffalo Bills have brought on the architecture firm Populous to design its new stadium in Orchard Park, a person familiar with the hiring confirms. MORE: https://t.co/Z97wY9jfbB— News 4 Buffalo (@news4buffalo) March 11, 2022
In addition to hiring an architect, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul was also reported to have expressed confidence earlier this month that she would have a deal in place for the project to be included on the state budget, which is due in April. At the time, Hochul indicated that one issue the project faced was the stadium lease timeline, which would ensure the franchise’s long-term presence in the region.
Another issue, which has been criticized by the editorial board at Syracuse.com, is having taxpayers foot the bill in an amount that is slated to reach hundreds of millions of dollars. If the option is approved, reports reveal that the project would be the richest public stadium subsidy in history, eclipsing the $750 million taxpayer subsidy for the NFL Raiders’ $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas.
Recent Populous Projects
Recognized as a world leader in stadium designs, Populous boasts a portfolio filled with Olympic Games venues, NFL stadiums and entertainment sites.
Back in 2019, Comcast Spectator and The Cordish Cos. announced design plans for a $50 million Philadelphia-based esports arena. Designed by Populous, the 60,000-square-foot venue is slated to be the largest esports venue in the Western Hemisphere.
Dubbed the Fusion Arena, this future complex is planned to be apart of the Philadelphia Sports Complex, Wells Fargo Center, Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Park—Comcast and Cordish also plan to incorporate an $80 million Class A office tower.
The home of the Philadelphia Fusion esports franchise plans to encompass a 6,000-square-foot entry, 10,000-square-foot training center, 2,000-square-foot interactive media space, a broadcast studio, offices and more.
The 3,500-seat arena also plans to feature other unique seating experiences such as balcony bars, club seats featuring USB ports, exclusive suites and flexible loge boxes. The decision to use industrial materials throughout the structure has also been planned, paying tribute to Philadelphia’s heritage as the “workshop of the world.”
That same year, Populous revealed designs for FC Cincinnati’s future home—West End Stadium. The new look revealed updates to the $250 million project’s exterior and roof, and were expected to be huge challenges.
The 360-degree canopy roof planned to use 513 vertical fins to house 2.5 miles of what officials called a “one-of-a-kind” LED lighting system that would allow motion sequences to be displayed on the stadium’s east-facing facade.
In October 2020, the United Kingdom’s Manchester City Council gave a Populous-designed indoor arena the green light. At the time of its announcement, the arena was slated to be the largest venue of its kind in the country.
Plans for the 23,500-seat multi-purpose arena were submitted earlier that spring. The arena is expected to sit on a 2.2-hectare (roughly 5.4-acre) plot, just north of the city’s Etihad Stadium, home of the Manchester City football club.
Focusing on the new arena’s design, renderings revealed a modern, sleek shape, finished with a black facade. Inside, the arena is to be comprised of a main auditorium complete with ringed LED features ideal for concerts, sports and other entertainment events.
The following year, Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena hosted its grand opening. The structure, which was also designed by Populous, is home to the National Hockey League’s latest expansion team, the Seattle Kraken, and the Women's National Basketball Association’s team, the Seattle Storm.
Originally, the project was supposed to be completed in time for the 2020-21 NHL season with a price tag of $600 million—both of which were pushed incrementally since the project’s inception.
Since the arena is a designated historic building, four supporting pylons were installed first so that the entire interior could be redone. The playing floor can also drop 15 feet, to 58 feet below grade, allowing playing lines for hockey and basketball to line up.
An additional 50,000 square feet was added for more storage and premium club space, which offers views of the Space Needle. The capacity for the venue has been expanded to 17,400 for NHL games and 18,600 for NBA, growing the arena’s capacity to encompass 750,000 square feet.
According to officials, Climate Pledge Arena will serve as a long-lasting and regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action. The Climate Pledge, which was founded by Amazon and Global Optimism in 2019, is a commitment from companies globally to be net zero carbon by 2040.
And last month, it was reported that construction crews at the $1.9 billion, Populous-designed MSG Sphere had yet to be plagued by ongoing supply chain issues. At the time, Andrew Lustgarten, President of MSG Entertainment, was quoted in telling reporters that the Sphere was approaching the midway point of building the 366-foot-tall exosphere.
Once completed, the exterior will be wrapped in an open-air trellis structure, holding 580,000 square feet of programmable LED lighting surface.
Inside, officials report that the sphere’s interior will have a digital display plane of 170,000 square feet, making it the largest and highest resolution LED display plane in the world.
The project is still eyeing up completion in 2023.