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Dr Stephan J. Holthoff-Pfoertner, IAKS President, at the opening of FSB 2015

To mark its 50th anniversary, the IAKS has honoured important personalities from five decades of international sports facility development in a special ceremony. An international jury presented the All-Time Award to outstanding sports facilities.

IAKS Hall of Fame celebrates 13 personalities

A total of 12 individuals and Koelnmesse as an organisation have been inducted into the IAKS Hall of Fame. All of them have rendered special services to sports facilities development or the IAKS over the last 50 years.

Honours have gone to Prof. Frieder Roskam, Dr Willi Weyer, Gert Abelbeck, Roswitha Thibes, Ernst Hirt, Dr Pino Zoppini, Prof. Dr Carlos Vera Guardia, Siegfried Hoymann, Werner Krems, Peter Gattermann, Prof. Geraint John, Bill Stonor and Koelnmesse.

IAKS All-Time Award pays tribute to outstanding sports facilities

The IAKS All-Time Award commends outstanding sports facilities of the last few decades not only for their architectural and operative excellence, but also because of the special importance attached to sustainability and social factors.

The award has gone to the National Aquatics Center (Water Cube) in Beijing; National Stadium (Bird’s Nest) in Beijing; Olympic Memorial Arena (M-Wave) in Nagano; Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona; Olympic Stadium in Berlin; Holmenkollen Ski Jump in Oslo; Richmond Olympic Oval in Vancouver; and Oberhaching College of Physical Education near Munich.

IAKS celebrates its anniversary

The festivities surrounding the 50th anniversary of the IAKS took place at the beginning of the 24th IAKS Congress during FSB at Koelnmesse.

Dr Stefan Kannewischer is the new President of the IAKS

After 18 years as President, Dr Stephan J. Holthoff-Pförtner (pictured at the top of this story) handed over the reins to Dr Stefan Kannewischer during the IAKS General Meeting on 28 October 2015. The Swiss is Managing Director of Kannewischer Management AG and Kannewischer Collection.

IAKS Awards

The golden envelopes have been opened and the winners announced for the bi-annual IAKS Awards. The jury conferred 3 IOC/IAKS Awards in Gold, 7 IOC/IAKS Awards in Silver and 14 IOC/IAKS Awards in Bronze. 4 projects received the IPC/IAKS Distinction for accessible sports facilities. 

For the IOC/IPC/IAKS Architecture and Design Award for Students and Young Professionals the jury selected four winners and awarded 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronzes.

There were 129 entries from 30 countries. IAKS awarded Silver to the Bolshoy Ice Dome (Ruben Reddy Architects & SIC Mostovic), which was a star in Sochi, and to Arena Fonte Nova (Schultz Architekten, Tetra Arquitetura), a host stadium in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and to the London Aquatics Centre (Zaha Hadid Architects).

Friends Arena, Beira-Rio Stadium, Stade Leo Lagrange, Bossard Arena, Luanda Multisports Pavilion and the London 2012 Shooting Venue were awarded Bronze.

The jury awarded an IPC/IAKS Distinction to Bolshoy Ice Dome, stating

The venue provides a range of options for disabled spectators visiting the venue. The ramps in particular are useful during egress or when there is an emergency evacuation. This venue sets new standards of accessibility in Russia, providing plentiful accessible toilets and wide easy-to-manoeuvre circulation spaces.

The awards were handed out at a ceremony as part of FSB in Cologne.


Major Events International (MEI) are focusing on the theme of driving fan engagement through technology at this year’s inaugural Major Events Summit, taking place in London on 26th and 27th October. Demonstrated by the high levels of fan engagement during this year’s Rugby World Cup, this is an area of growing interest and prominence within the sports industry as organisations look to enhance fan experience and engagement as well as looking at the ‘Return on Investment’ from an increasing range of innovative capabilities. 

The aim of the Major Events Summit is to provide the Major Events community with a highly interactive and profile-enhancing opportunity. With a unique mix of attendees from leading edge suppliers to sports and venue key officials, round tables and panels will allow for detailed discussions and new relationships to be formed.

The first day of the Summit on 26th October will focus on Safety and Security for major sporting events and is followed by the MEI awards and sports legend dinner – the awards themselves will be produced by Touch of Ginger who have recently produced the Rugby World Cup medals. The Event Services and Venue Operations day on 27th will focus on the use of technology and best practice generally when running and supplying into events. Speakers on day two include Spanish start up Mobile Media Content and Olympic sponsor ATOS Origin.

Commenting on the event, MEI’s CEO Dennis Mills said:

The Major Events Summit is an opportunity for our joint supplier and buyer community to meet, identify requirements and suitable solutions as well as sharing lessons learned.  In a format which will encourage maximum attendee participation, this new “must-attend” annual gathering of major sporting events and venue professionals will be kept to 100 attendees to allow for an intimate highly networked environment.

To reserve your place at this specialist event, please visit or call +44 (0) 207 073 2661 for more information

About Major Events International (MEI)

Major Events International (MEI) provides business support services to companies seeking to win business for iconic global events such as the Olympic Games, World Cup series, and regional and specialist events where requirements cover venues, fan parks, city and state level hosting needs presenting opportunities for companies of all sizes and sectors.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has today (24 September 2015) announced that the globally-renowned architect Dame Zaha Hadid will receive the 2016 Royal Gold Medal, the first woman to be awarded the prestigious honour in her own right.

Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by Her Majesty The Queen and is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence “either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture”. Awarded since 1848, past Royal Gold Medallists include Frank Gehry (2000), Norman Foster (1983), Frank Lloyd Wright (1941) and George Gilbert Scott (1859).

Hadid is internationally known for her built, theoretical and academic work. Each of her dynamic and innovative projects builds on over thirty years of revolutionary experimentation and research in the fields of architecture, design and urbanism.

RIBA President and chair of the selection committee, Jane Duncan, said:

Zaha Hadid is a formidable and globally-influential force in architecture. Highly experimental, rigorous and exacting, her work from buildings to furniture, footwear and cars, is quite rightly revered and desired by brands and people all around the world. I am delighted Zaha will be awarded the Royal Gold Medal in 2016 and can’t wait to see what she and her practice will do next.

Hadid said:

I am very proud to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal, in particular, to be the first woman to receive the honour in her own right. I would like to thank Peter Cook, Louisa Hutton and David Chipperfield for the nomination and Jane Duncan and the Honours Committee for their support.

We now see more established female architects all the time. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Sometimes the challenges are immense. There has been tremendous change over recent years and we will continue this progress. This recognition is an honour for me and my practice, but equally, for all our clients.

It is always exciting to collaborate with those who have great civic pride and vision. Part of architecture’s job is to make people feel good in the spaces where we live, go to school or where we work – so we must be committed to raising standards. Housing, schools and other vital public buildings have always been based on the concept of minimal existence – that shouldn’t be the case today. Architects now have the skills and tools to address these critical issues.

Born in Baghdad in 1950, Zaha Hadid started her architectural journey in 1972 studying at the progressive Architectural Association in London. She joined her former professors, Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis, at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam, where she became a partner in 1977. By 1979 she had established her own practice in London – Zaha Hadid Architects – garnering a reputation across the world for her trail-blazing theoretical works including The Peak in Hong Kong (1983), the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin (1986) and the Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales (1994).

Working with office partner Patrik Schumacher, Hadid’s interest is in the interface between architecture, landscape, and geology; which her practice integrates with the use of cutting-edge technologies – the result is often unexpected and dynamic architectural forms.

Hadid’s first major built commission, one that catapulted her rise, was the Vitra Fire Station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany (1993); subsequent notable projects including the MAXXI: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome (2009), the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games (2011) and the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku (2013) illustrate her quest for complex, fluid space. Buildings such as the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati (2003) and the Guangzhou Opera House in China (2010) have also been hailed as architecture that transforms our ideas of the future with new spatial concepts and dynamic, visionary forms.

In 2004, Hadid became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. She has twice won the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, the RIBA Stirling Prize: in 2010 for the MAXXI Museum in Rome, a building for the staging of 21st Century art, the distillation of years of experimentation, a mature piece of architecture conveying a calmness that belies the complexities of its form and organisation; and the Evelyn Grace Academy, a unique design, expertly inserted into an extremely tight site, that shows the students, staff and local residents they are valued and celebrates the school’s specialism throughout its fabric, with views of student participation at every turn.

Hadid’s other awards include the Republic of France’s Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Japan’s Praemium Imperiale and in 2012, Zaha Hadid was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She was made Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Fellow of the American Institute of Architecture.

Hadid has held various adademic roles including the Kenzo Tange Chair at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University; the Sullivan Chair at the University of Illinois, School of Architecture; guest professorships at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg; the Knolton School of Architecture, Ohio and the Masters Studio at Columbia University, New York; the Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor of Architectural Design at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.

Barclaycard Arena wins prestigious title at the Celebrating Construction Awards

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The Barclaycard Arena – in Birmingham, UK – has won ‘Project of the Year’ for its redevelopment work, at a prestigious annual award ceremony that recognises the West Midlands’ most inspiring construction projects and people.

The coveted title was awarded to BAM Construction Ltd – the contractor appointed to oversee the redevelopment of the arena – at the Celebrating Construction Awards for the innovative remodelling project, which took place between May 2013 and December 2014.

The GBP£26m project aimed to reposition the Barclaycard Arena as a global venue through dramatic architecture, as well as increasing the size. The results were an entire upgrade of all areas – from front of house through to backstage, adding 5,926m² of pre/post show space into the 13,437m² of redevelopment.

Andrew Hendry, Projects and Contracts Manager for Barclaycard Arena, worked closely with BAM on the redevelopment project and attended the award ceremony, commented:

The Barclaycard Arena is one of the busiest, large scale indoor sporting and entertainment venues in the world, with a capacity that ranges from a maximum of 15,892 to 3,000 for more intimate events. The redevelopment has introduced improved facilities for all visitors to the venue, including improved dressing room facilities for artists, giving them a ‘five star hotel feel’. The outside has been transformed to give a real sense of anticipation to an unforgettable event, and the customer experience has been improved throughout.

Throughout the project we worked very closely with BAM and so it’s fantastic that we’ve beaten over 100 companies across the East and West Midlands to be awarded this prestigious title and be recognised by the industry professionals as a benchmark for others.

In the ‘Project of the Year’ category, judges were looking for an outstanding project that best demonstrates the highest levels of technical achievement, innovation, application of best practice, team working throughout the supply chain, delivered to time, budget and quality with the highest health & safety standards, lowest environmental impact and most importantly to the Customer’s delight.

Dean Bryant, Commercial Director for BAM Construction said:

The Barclaycard Arena was a challenging and intricate build in regards to logistics, third party intervention, continually changing client requirements and the fundamental driver that the Arena was to remain live throughout. But our expertise and knowledge and close working relationship with the Arena team meant we were able to complete the project on time, on budget and to everyone’s expectations. We’re now looking forward to the national awards.

Architect becomes first Briton to receive IOC’s Pierre de Coubertin medal

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has today awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal to Geraint John, for outstanding service to the Olympic Movement.

The award makes Geraint John the first British recipient of this special decoration since the medal was inaugurated in 1997.

Sir Craig Reedie, Vice President of the IOC, said:

I am delighted to have presented this prestigious award to mark Geraint’s many years of outstanding service to the Olympic Movement.

The Pierre de Coubertin medal reflects the Olympic values of respect, excellence and friendship. Geraint has proved to be a great friend to the Olympic community, both in Britain and around the world, and brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Olympic design.

The award of the Pierre de Coubertin medal is the richly-deserved recognition of a lifetime of service.

An architect by profession, Geraint has been recognised for a long and distinguished career in the design and provision of international sports facilities.

A Senior Adviser to Populous since 1996, the global sports design practice and architects behind three Olympic stadia (Sydney 2000, London 2012 and Sochi 2014), Geraint was Chief Architect and Head of the Technical Unit for Sport at the GB Sports Council for 21 years. He is also Honorary Life President of the International Union of Architects (UIA) Sports and Leisure Programme Group, of which he has been a member for more than 25 years.

Through these roles, Geraint has a made a significant contribution to the IOC’s promotion of environmental and sustainable sports facilities that deliver lasting Olympic and Paralympic legacies. He helped produce the IOC’s Sustainable Stadia Guide and advised on the permanent stadia exhibition at the recently renovated Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, the largest archive of Olympic Games memorabilia in the world.

Commenting on the award, Geraint John said:

To be the first British recipient of this award is quite overwhelming. Architecture has and will continue to provide exceptional service to the Olympic Movement and I accept this award on behalf of all the talented people from so many countries that I have been fortunate to work alongside.

Rod Sheard, Senior Principal at Populous, said:

As a friend and colleague of over 20 years, I am delighted to see Geraint’s hard work recognised. Geraint brings both architectural and international expertise to every project, and his contributions have proved invaluable to the experience and enjoyment of Olympic Games for millions of people around the world.

Geraint John with Sir Craig Reedie at today's Award Ceremony

Above & below: Geraint John with Sir Craig Reedie at today’s Awards Ceremony.  Copyright: Nina Sologubenko



And the winner is…IAKS, IOC and IPC awards

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Bao ‘An Stadium was the gold medal winner in the major outdoor stadium category of the IOC/IAKS Awards.  Its design, by gmp architects, uses bamboo for architectural and structural effect. The stadium hosted soccer during the Universiade but was designed primarily for athletics. It cost Euros 60 million for 40,500 capacity and operating costs in 2012 were Euros 1.25 million.

The London Olympic Stadium, designed by Populous, received a silver medal, with recognition for the choice of materials and structure and technical systems specifically for the Olympics and the ability for rapid dismantling and reconfiguration. The stadium’s designer Tom Jones (pictured receiving the award from Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu, Executive Board Member IOC and Dr. Stephan J. Holthoff-Pförtner, IAKS President) revealed in a IAKS Congress session that the architectural design specified an orange track, which was overruled by the client who wanted to use a track which favoured the sprint events but was not available in the colour required.

Naradowy Stadium in Warsaw won bronze. The jury recognised “the technical solution but also the image that a national stadium should create for the future”. PGE Arena won an IPC/IAKS Distinction bronze medal for the range of services provided to visually-impaired spectators, including a touch tour and tactile model of the stadium.

Make Architects (pictured below – Stuart Fraser left) were double winners for the Olympic Handball Arena, the Copper Box. The design won IPC/IAKS Distinction bronze for accessibility and the IOC/IAKS jury liked the natural light system so much that it made a special award. Other winners included Lee Valley Whitewater Centre (FaulknerBrowns – pictured below right), Max Aicher Arena (Behnisch Architekten) and Shanghai Oriental Sports Center (gmp).

IMG_7418   IMG_7417

IOC President Dr. Thomas Bach is IAKS Congress patron

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Dr. Thomas Bach, the new President of the International Olympic Committee will be patron of the 23rd IAKS Congress on the Design, Construction, Modernization and Management of Sports and Leisure Facilities, Cologne, 22nd to 25th October 2013. The IAKS is the only non-profit organization concerned globally with the subject of sports and leisure facility development and has therefore been awarded the status of a Recognized Organization by the IOC.

Progression in inclusive design at the London 2012, Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016 Games, A sustainable approach to a community centre, Developing new facilities for outdoor activities, are just three of the many topics on the agenda of this year’s IAKS Congress. The renowned IAKS event is being held parallel to the International Trade Fair for Amenity Areas, Sports, and Pool Facilities in Cologne from 22nd to 25th October 2013. Seminars, workshops and exclusive interviews will again ensure that Cologne becomes an international meeting-place for everything to do with sports facilities, swimming pools, amenity areas and urban design.

IOC / IPC / IAKS Awards: decisions made but under wraps for now

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The jury session of the IOC / IPC / IAKS Awards has been completed and awards have been made. What we don’t know is which projects have come out on top. All will be revealed in an exhibition at the 23rd IAKS Congress in conjunction with the international trade fair “Amenity Areas, Sports and Pool Facilities“ (FSB) in Cologne 22-25 October 2013.

For the IOC/IAKS Award, IAKS received 97 submissions from 30 countries. 31 projects from these 97 are additionally competing for the IPC/IAKS Distinction. The IOC/IPC/IAKS Architecture and Design Award for Students and Young Professionals received 30 submissions from 20 countries.

23 projects were awarded as follows:

  • 3 IOC/IAKS Awards in Gold
  • 5 IOC/IAKS Awards in Silver
  • 12 IOC/IAKS Awards in Bronze
  • 3 IOC/IAKS Special Prizes

Five projects were awarded the prestigious IPC/IAKS Distinction for Accessibility. At the IOC/IPC/IAKS Architecture and Design Award for Students and Young Professionals 2013, one Gold, one Silver and one Bronze Medal were awarded.

The presentation of the IOC/IAKS Award and the IPC/IAKS Distinction will take place at the 23rd IAKS Congress in Cologne on 22 October 2013.