Prominent Los Angeles sports architect Dan Meis, one of two lead designers of Staples Center, has joined the largest sports architecture firm in the country and will build up its Los Angeles office.

Meis is moving to Populous, a Kansas City, Mo.-based firm with offices in 11 cities, including New York, London and Hong Kong. This is the second big move in as many years for Meis, who in 2008 merged his Venice-based Meis Architects with global architecture firm Aedas.

Meis, 49, created a sports and entertainment design studio within Aedas, but said that the advantages of working at Populous couldn’t be ignored.

“In the past, we would compete for the same projects,” he said. “I thought that a consolidation of resources would make a powerful team so I reached out to one of the principals in the London practice. They had been thinking of opening a West Coast office and this was the right time for the both of us.”

Populous, formerly known as HOK Sports, was a division of architecture firm HOK, one of the largest architecture firms in the country. Members of the sports practice bought out their practice in 2008 and rebranded themselves.

The Los Angeles office of Populous has about 20 people on staff, a number that Meis expects to grow to about 40 people. That level of staff will allow the firm to work on multiple projects at the same time.

He brings a large local project with him. Meis is the lead architect for Ed Roski Jr.’s proposed NFL stadium plan in the City of Industry. It’s not the first time that Meis has collaborated with Roski, who developed the Staples Center with Los Angeles sports and entertainment company AEG.

The NFL stadium project is still undergoing some design changes as the stadium uses become clearer. Over the past few months, Meis has been working on upgrades to the design to make it compliant with requirements for stadiums seeking to host World Cup games. Los Angeles is one of 18 potential cities to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup games if the games are awarded to the United States.

“We literally changed the configuration of seating so that sight lines are little steeper and catch every corner of the soccer stadium,” Meis said.

He may also have some help designing the stadium for soccer from his new colleagues. The Populous group is currently working on stadium projects for Brazil’s 2014 World Cup.


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