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Bill Hellmuth

Bill Hellmuth CEO, HOK Sport + Recreation + Entertainment


Bill Hellmuth, president of global architecture practice HOK, is “excited” by the firm’s recent re-entry into the sports sector.

Speaking to CLADmag’s sister publication Sports Management, Hellmuth said the acquisition of sports specialist 360 Architecture, which will form part of a new global practice called HOK Sports + Recreation + Entertainment, has “filled a void” in HOK’s operations.

“It’s great to be back in sports,” he said. “It’s a piece of our practice we’ve sorely missed.”

HOK’s previous sports arm – HOK Sport Venue Event – became Populous in 2008 following a management buy out. A non-compete agreement, which formed part of the deal, meant HOK hasn’t worked in sports architecture for more than five years.

Founded in 2004, 360 Architecture is recognised as one of the world’s leading designers of stadiums, arenas and wellness centres, employing 200 staff. The company’s previous work includes the MetLife Stadium in New York and the Basra Sports City project in Iraq.

Hellmuth said the integration of 360 into HOK will impact all of HOK’s future work around large projects. “We do an awful lot of work with developers and a lot of masterplanning of communities,” he added.

“Having the sports component woven in from the very beginning is a real benefit. In the past, people doing these masterplans would get to the sports part and we’d have to say ‘we don’t do that’. That’s no longer the case and it makes our offering to clients so much richer.”

Brad Schrock, principal at 360 Architecture, will be among the staff to join the new Sports + Recreation + Entertainment practice. He is poised to become its director.

Speaking to Sports Management, Schrock said the new sports practice’s philosophy will mirror the scale of opportunities offered by being part of a global masterplanning giant such as HOK. “Sports facilities are so much more than just sports facilities nowadays.

“The days of having a traditional sports architect execute a stadium are pretty much over. Our philosophy is that we’ve got an incredible group of professionals and experts around the world that practice in a number of markets that come to bear on all of our sports projects.

“Joining HOK enables us to take advantage of an exceptionally strong global platform and expand our sports facility design practice, while offering our clients additional expertise in other markets,” he added.

Along with Schrock, 360 Architecture’s senior principals set to join HOK include Tom Waggoner, George Heinlein, William Johnson, Tracy Stearns and Chris Trainer.

HOK’s re-entry into the sports market in 2015 coincides with the celebration of the company’s 60th anniversary.

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