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Dame Zaha Hadid, recently in the news after winning the competition to design the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium (only for the competition to be re-run), has died. London Mayor Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter: “So sad to hear of death of Zaha Hadid, she was an inspiration and her legacy lives on in wonderful buildings in Stratford and around the world.”

04 aquatics centre QE park

Hadid was the architect of the London Acquatics Centre in Stratford, East London, which resembles a wave – the double wave being her trademark sculptural form. The Centre, which features two 50-metre pools and a diving pool, was used for the Olympics and Paralympics and then converted and opened to the public in 2014. Hadid said at the time:

I love the London Aquatics Centre because it’s near where I live.

Hadid’s architectural practice also designed (with AECOM) the Al Wakrah Stadium, a 40,000 capacity stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, which is due for completion in 2018.

Al Wakrah Stadium's top tiers will be modular and seating will be re-used elsewhere after the World Cup.

Al Wakrah Stadium’s top tiers will be modular and seating will be re-used elsewhere after the World Cup.

RIBA President Jane Duncan said in an official press release:

This is absolutely terrible news. Dame Zaha Hadid was an inspirational woman, and the kind of architect one can only dream of being. Visionary and highly experimental, her legacy despite her young age, is formidable. She leaves behind a body of work from buildings to furniture, footwear and cars, that delight and astound people all around the world. It was only last month that I had the enviable task of awarding Zaha the 2016 Royal Gold Medal for architecture – she was delighted to receive the recognition and adds the medal to an amazing collection of awards, not least winning the RIBA Stirling Prize years running. The world of architecture has lost a star today.

BDP has confirmed that it will be combining forces with Japan’s leading engineering practice, Nippon Koei, to form an integrated design group of genuine international reach.

The boards of BDP Holdings Ltd (BDP) and Nippon Koei Co Ltd (Nippon Koei) announced today that the two companies have exchanged contracts on a deal in which Nippon Koei has acquired the entire shareholdings of BDP for the sum of GBP£102.2m.

Sharing a philosophy which places an emphasis on design integration and community impact, the new group offers a unique combination of deep technical skills in engineering, architecture and the full range of design disciplines.

While both companies will retain their existing operations and their own brand identity, their complementary geographical footprints and technical skills mean that they will be able to work collaboratively to win and deliver integrated design solutions across international markets.

BDP is a leading UK-based international practice of architects, designers and engineers, with six UK studios, as well as offices in Ireland, the Netherlands, the Middle East, China and India. The firm employs 950 people and had a turnover of over GBP£81m in 2015.

Originally established in 1946 as Japan’s first independent engineering consultancy, Nippon Koei’s primary strength is in civil engineering, although it offers a range of services to both Japanese and international clients. A significant proportion of Nippon Koei’s work is associated with infrastructure development funded by the Japanese Government and the World Bank in developing economies across Asia, South America and Africa. In coming together with BDP, the company wishes to expand its current international offer in the rapidly expanding Asian commercial markets.

Nippon Koei employs around 3,200 people and had a turnover of GBP£430m in 2015. The company has been listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange since 1954.

The two companies have a vision to be the world’s leading integrated architecture, design and engineering firm, delivering world-class design solutions which enhance the communities they serve.

John McManus, Chief Executive of BDP, said:

The alliance with Nippon Koei heralds an exciting new era in BDP’s evolution. Although separated geographically, our two firms share common values and have highly complementary strengths in terms of professional offer and sector expertise. By uniting the two firms, we are creating an organisation which genuinely has the potential to be greater than the sum of its parts. We believe that this strategic international alignment will deliver huge benefits to our clients and will offer exceptional prospects for our people to develop both professionally and personally.

Ryuichi Arimoto, President of Nippon Koei, said:

As a leading architecture and design firm in the UK, BDP’s participation in the NK group will mark a great turning point in both of our histories. We will join forces on a global basis and provide solutions together to the many urban development problems from both an engineering and an architectural perspective.

The combination of NK’s 70 years of experience in social development and infrastructure together with BDP’s 55 years of experience in the education, health and commercial sectors, will create significant opportunity to add value for our clients and, I am confident, will lead the group to become the world’s leading integrated architecture, engineering and design company for the next generation. I also believe that the synergies between us will not only advantage our projects but will be of enormous benefit to our staff from a human resources perspective.

Stadia book fifth edition published

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Stadia, the book, has reached its fifth edition. What to expect from a now venerable publication? Much of the same? Well, yes. But that’s fine because the same is 25 chapters spelling out all the fundamentals of stadium design. The book has acquired the subtitle The Populous Design and Development Guide and the authors, Rod Sheard, Geraint John and Ben Vickery are employed by Populous. But it’s more academic manual than marketing brochure.

The appendix listing important projects shows that some significant, and very photogenic, stadiums have been built in the period since the 4th edition was published in 2007. The book has been further improved all-round by publisher Routledge, with full-page colour photos introducing chapters and colour diagrams.

If you are new to stadiums, investing in this substantial read will get you up to speed. If you are responsible for a stadium project, you can reference useful decision-making tools, checklists and explanations. It’s good that there are lots of chapters, each quite narrowly focussed, for example on transport/parking/landscaping or retail/museum/tour so that you can dip in.

The book is strong on stadium-specific topics as you’d expect: crowd circulation and control, spectator viewing, and how to sequence decision-making on the mix of accommodation types. Re-use, reduce, recycle for sustainable design benefits from Populous’ research in this area and brand activation is another recent requirement now covered.

The reference points are mainly UK and US for regulations and sports, with a wider scope for the architectural discussions. The book’s ambition to cover every aspect of stadium design and many of operation leaves some of the chapters as introductions only, for example to pitch construction and maintenance. These are nevertheless useful because they help complete the overall picture that developers need to be aware of.

Stadia retains its status as the one book you’d take to the desert island if that island required a stadium.

Stadia, the book, has reached its fifth edition

Stadia, the book, has reached its fifth edition