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First look at Populous’s giant sphere arena for east London

  • By Cooney Architects

This article was published in Architects’ Journal  BY ELLA JESSEL in  APRIL 5th, 2018.

Populous has released the first visualisations of its giant spherical arena planned for East London

The globe-shaped structure will be a 18,000-capacity music and entertainment venue for MSG Ventures, the firm behind New York’s Madison Square Garden arena.

MSG has already purchased a 2ha site in Stratford near the Olympic Park for its London Sphere, its first international venue, and a sister arena in Las Vegas is also in the pipeline.

The visualisations reveal that the venue’s exterior will be covered with programmable digital screens to showcase artistes and brands.

MSG said its interior will boast the ‘largest and highest-resolution media display on Earth’ as well ‘crystal-clear acoustics’.

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In a press statement the company said: ’Through the most advanced cutting-edge technologies, MSG will create powerful, immersive, multi-sensory environments that will transport audiences and change the nature of live events.’

Further details of the design are to be announced in the coming months and the company hopes to submit a planning application by the end of 2018

The visualisations were unveiled at an event at the Copper Box Arena in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

MSG’s executive chairman and CEO James L Dolan said: ‘London is one of the world’s greatest cities and we are delighted to be taking this first step towards making it the location for MSG’s first international venue.’

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What makes PNC Park so good?

  • By Cooney Architects

This article was published in pirates 2016  By ELIZABETH BLOOM

PNC Park debuted 15 years ago this spring, and while that may not seem like a major-league accomplishment, consider this: When Three Rivers Stadium turned 15, it was halfway to being imploded.

The Pirates’ current home couldn’t seem further from such a dusty fate. PNC Park still is thought to be one of the best ballparks in America, even though nine stadiums have opened since the North Shore park’s first regular season game April 9, 2001.

While all three of Pittsburgh’s professional stadiums opened within a decade, PNC Park seems to soar above the rest, a symbol of the city’s rise and a source of pride for its baseball fans.

Architecture firm HOK (now called Populous), which designed PNC Park, drew upon Pittsburgh’s natural resources and manmade features, particularly in orienting the ballpark toward its signature view of the city’s skyline and bridges.


The skeleton of PNC Park rises against the Pittsburgh skyline, Feb. 15, 2000. A sign on General Robinson Street notes there are 421 days until the new ballpark opens. (John Beale/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“We learned to live in the city and understand the market,” said Earl Santee, the project’s lead architect for the Kansas City, Mo.-based firm. “We went to Primanti Bros., we went to the North Shore, we went everywhere, and we just lived that life.”

The designers also took hints from the city, particularly beloved Forbes Field, the predecessor to Three Rivers Stadium. They also envisioned the North Shore and the classic ballpark as lively extensions of Downtown via the Roberto Clemente Bridge, a fate that has borne out.

The design team’s focus on gathering spaces in and around the stadium has transformed the park and its surrounding streets into an anchor of activity on the North Shore. With two decks rather than three, PNC Park was able to maintain a feeling of intimacy, even though it is larger, in terms of square footage, than Three Rivers Stadium. Clad in cream-colored limestone and blue steel, it was the first double-decker ballpark built since 1953.

“It doesn’t overwhelm you in a way a lot of buildings can,” Santee said. “It feels familiar, but I really think it feels like Pittsburgh, 100 percent Pittsburgh.”

“When we envisioned the stadium, we also thought it should be smaller,” said Bill Newlin, chairman of Newlin Investment Co., one of the key planners for the project. “That gave the fans, particularly a baseball fan, the opportunity to get meshed with the actual field experience.”

In 2003, ranked PNC Park as the best stadium in Major League Baseball.

“When building a stadium, most teams just look at the most recent new one and say that they want one just like it, only bigger and more expensive,” ESPN’s Jim Caple wrote of the surprise winner. “Not Pittsburgh. The Pirates and the public built a stadium that is not only located in Pittsburgh but one that is part of Pittsburgh.

“Ray Kinsella was wrong. Baseball heaven isn’t in Iowa. It’s in Pittsburgh, along the banks of the Allegheny River.”

But as the North Shore ballpark celebrates its quinceañera, it is worth remembering how improbable the project seemed.

“It’s like any deal that, by hindsight, seems successful and exciting. You forget the number of times the deal almost failed to get done,” Newlin said.

In 1993, the owners of the Pirates told newly elected Mayor Tom Murphy of their intent to sell the team. A clause in the contract allowed the city, which feared the team would end up elsewhere, to try to secure new, local ownership.

But MLB would not permit the sale to a group led by Kevin McClatchy unless the Pirates had a new stadium — one that would not be shared with another sport, as had been true of the football-baseball mashup at Three Rivers Stadium.

The Steelers and the hotel industry argued that they, too, needed a new football stadium and convention center. So what started as an effort to keep the Pirates in Pittsburgh turned into a major redevelopment project for the region.

Fresh in Pittsburghers’ memory was the downward economic spiral of the 1970s and 1980s, when Western Pennsylvania was losing residents by the tens of thousands, businesses were getting out as fast as they could and Pittsburgh had dived face-first into double-digit unemployment.

And now, this new mayor was trying to build a new ballpark in a broke city that couldn’t pave the roads?

“To say the least, it was not popular at the time,” Murphy said.

The leaders, however, saw the ballpark as a way to turn around Pittsburgh’s fortunes, and worried about the symbolic and economic impact of the Pirates’ potential departure.

“It was a fundamental decision about whether Pittsburgh was going to continue to decline or we are going to reach forward as a city,” Murphy said.

Left: The future site of PNC Park on the North Shore, taken February 9, 1999. (John Beale/Pittbsurgh Post-Gazette) Right: The Pittsburgh North Shore on March 9, 2016. (Darrell Sapp/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Left: The future site of PNC Park on the North Shore, taken February 9, 1999. (John Beale/Pittbsurgh Post-Gazette) Right: The Pittsburgh North Shore on March 9, 2016. (Darrell Sapp/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


After two years of construction and a $262 million pricetag, PNC Park staged its first regular season game in April 2001.

Fifteen years after Murphy, Newlin and others fulfilled their promise, few Pittsburghers would argue that PNC Park wasn’t worth the effort.

“It wasn’t just about sport,” said Santee, the architect. “It was about what the city of Pittsburgh wanted to become, and it became that.”

Fans pack the PNC Park rotunda on October 7, 2015 for the National League Wild Card Game.

Fans pack the PNC Park rotunda on October 7, 2015 for the National League Wild Card Game.

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Leanne Kiernan, Irish international soccer player with the Cooney Architects designed Campus Conference Centre

  • By Cooney Architects
Bailieborough Abú!
Leanne Kiernan, Irish  international soccer player( who is from Bailieborough) with the Cooney Architects designed Campus Conference Centre at Abbotstown in the background.

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Kilmainham office is our most recently completed project

  • By Cooney Architects

Kilmainham office is  our most recently completed project. The front facade  casts dramatic shadows internally.

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Successfully completed Brooke House looks great on site

  • By Cooney Architects

Brook House, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, a new community of 5 homes, carved into a steeply sloping medieval street. Once home to the towns tannery master, has been transformed into a new community. The historic house has been carefully conserved and restored. The addition of a modern 21st century layer has been folded into its complex urban fabric, which reveals itself as you pass under the historic medieval archway. A new textured concrete canopy protects and echoes to the beat of its historic waterway. The central courtyard, the heart of this community, provides a space for its residents to flourish.

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A House in the Field is nominated for ‘Green Awards 2018’

  • By Cooney Architects

Cooney Architects are delighted to have been nominated for the ‘Green Awards 2018′ in the ‘The Green Construction Award’ category.0001-6



The importance of recycling

  • By Cooney Architects

Yesterday after shopping in our local supermarket, I was in the queue at the Check Out, and heard when the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment.
The woman apologised to the young girl & then sighed, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”
The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. You folk didn’t do enough to save our environment for future generations.”
The older lady said “Ahh yes you’re right — our generation didn’t have the “green thing” in its day.” She sighed then continued:
Back then, we returned milk bottles, lemonade bottles & beer bottles to the shops. The shops then sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized & refilled, so those same bottles were used over & over, thus REALLY were recycled. But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.
Grocery stores put our groceries into brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) were not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalise our books on their brown paper bag/covers. But, too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then.
I remember how we walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store or office building; walked to the grocery store & didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go 200 yards.
. . . But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.
Back then we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the throw away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind & solar power really did dry our clothes back in our days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. . . . But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.
Back then we had one radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And if anyone did own a TV, it had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of a football pitch. When cooking we blended & stirred by hand coz we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send by post, we used layers of old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity., , , , But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.
We drank from a tap or fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, & we replaced the razor blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then. Back then, people took the bus & kids rode bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mothers into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s expensive car or van, which cost what a whole house did before the “green thing”..

Oh and we had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest leisure park.
. . . . But it so sad this current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then? . . . I think you should forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from some smart ass young person. .. …
We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off… Especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smart ass who can’t make change without the cash register telling them how much. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Cooney Architects Christmas party in Belfast

  • By Cooney Architects

Cooney Architects had a Christmas party last weekend in Belfast. Great fun had by all.

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