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The Atlanta Braves Have Chosen Populous To Design Their New Stadium

Feb 03, 2014 05:41 PM EST by Michael Thrasher

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The Atlanta Braves have decided on an architect to design their new ballpark in Cobb County.

The team has reportedly chosen Populous, the firm that has designed 19 of Major League Baseball's 30 stadiums in use, and is negotiating with the company, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Populous, a Kansas City-based firm formerly called HOK Sports, is known for retro stadium designs. The trend and appeal of retro stadiums began with the company's highly acclaimed design of Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, which opened in 1992. The company won an American Institute of Architects National Honor Award for both urban design and architecture for the stadium.

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Some of the firm's recent ballpark designs include Marlins Park in Miami, Target Field in Minneapolis and stadiums in New York for the Yankees and Mets. 

"They are certainly the biggest player in the game of stadium architecture," Robert Boland, a professor of sports management at New York University, told the Journal-Constitution. "It is a very safe hire." 

The Braves are planning on moving to the new stadium in Cobb County in 2017. The agreement between the organization and county states the Braves will be responsible for paying the architect, with the expenditure coming out of the team's commitment of up to $372 million toward stadium construction. Cobb County taxpayers will provide the other $300 million toward building the $672 million ballpark, according to the Journal-Constitution.

Boland said the firm's ballparks all typically share a set of features: the seats are all angled towards the field, the lower bowls are larger than the upper bowls, luxury club seats are near the field and the stadiums always have some local market flair incorporated into the design.

Populous might also play a role in the design of the new stadium's adjacent mixed-development areas. The involvement would not be unusual though, since the firm does more than baseball stadiums.

The company has designed sports complexes for football, basketball, soccer and multipurpose use, in addition to training facilities and convention centers. 

Populous designed the Fisht Olympic Stadium for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, which begin Feb. 6.

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