CLADmag issue2 2018

Page 64

CLAD news INTERVIEW

DA N M EIS The sports architect talks to Kim Megson about the future of stadium design and offers an insight into his hotly-anticipated next projects

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olorado-born architect Dan Meis has worked on some of the world’s best-known and most respected sports buildings. As a senior designer at Ellerbe Becket, he played a major role in projects like the Japan Saitama Super Arena, the world’s first truly transformable stadium. Later, he co-founded the Sports and Entertainment division of NBBJ and led the design of the Staples Centre in LA. In 2007, he established his own multidisciplinary design firm, MEIS, with offices in New York and Los Angeles. Their projects include hotly-anticipated stadiums currently in the works for AS Roma and Everton FC. Meis’s buildings are ripe with symbolism and conceived as placemaking ‘billboards’ for the cities they occupy. “My designs,” he says, “must create a sense of place and an experience that is both memorable and also financially and environmentally sustainable.”

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Here he speaks to CLAD about his approach to design and the challenges facing sports architecture:

Why did you decide to become a sports architect? I didn’t start my career as an architect choosing to design stadiums. I was interested in large-scale architecture. And when I did come across this world of sports design in the 1990s, most architects were based in Kansas City, Missouri, which wasn’t somewhere I necessarily wanted to live. I was intrigued, though, that there was a handful of people in one place doing all these stadiums around the country. Eventually, I was grabbed by the potential of this career route to create large public buildings. Why did you decide to start your own firm, having worked for the likes of NBBJ? When I first started working in sports, it seemed the only way I could progress was as part of a really big firm. Clients were looking for architects to steward these very precious and expensive stadiums, so typically they’d look for a very large firm that had very deep resources. What I always struggled with was that large firms, while they’re great at the functional delivery of buildings, are not always out of the box thinkers. It’s just not in their culture to be truly innovative because they’re so big. I was always

CLAD mag 2018 ISSUE 2


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