July 28, 2014

HKS announced a new sector dedicated to convention center design, programming and planning. The new practice is directed by HKS Vice President Ken Stockdell Jr., AIA, LEED AP BD+C, NCARB.

“HKS has designed millions of square feet of meeting and event space in a variety of facility types throughout its 75-year history,” said Nunzio DeSantis, HKS executive vice president. “This newly launched market sector focuses on stand-alone convention and integrated meeting and event facilities, fusing our deep knowledge and expertise in the design and delivery of hospitality, sports, entertainment, educational and commercial building types for both public and private sector clients. 

“With Ken Stockdell directing our practice, HKS is well-positioned to have a dynamic and far-reaching impact on the convention center and event facility industry,” added DeSantis.  

Stockdell brings to HKS nearly 30 years of experience in the public assembly facility programming, planning and design, and is a recognized expert in the field.  He has been involved in more than 30 convention center design commissions, including four of the five largest convention center facilities in North America – three of them winners of the national AIA Honor Award and two Urban Land Institute Award of Excellence winners. 

His portfolio includes work on the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., McCormick Place South Hall expansion in Chicago and Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.  In addition to needs assessment and facility programming, master planning and support for market feasibility consultants, Stockdell has conducted more than 30 feasibility studies, planning studies and peer review consultations, and has worked on six design-build convention center projects, serving in various capacities.

“Today’s great convention centers are gathering places reimagined to reflect our time and the unique locales and vibrant cultures they inhabit, as well as the very events held within them,” Stockdell explained. “HKS is entering this market at a very opportune time.  With the economy on the uptick, there’s a pent-up demand in many major and secondary domestic markets for new, expanded and renovated event facilities. This demand intersects with the evolving needs of meeting and event planners and a new generation of conventioneer – younger, tech-savvy and interested in not just attending a convention, but enjoying an experience.  What is attractive to them?  What do they want and need?” 

“Great gathering space design is a strategic fusion of flexibility, beauty, functionality, efficiency and sustainability. The next-generation facility integrates with and uplifts the urban fabric, it’s got amazing amenities and it works in harmony with and enhances the neighborhood,” said Stockdell.  “HKS approaches each project with these key design elements in mind, creating public assembly facilities that evoke the right balance of practical, emotional and aesthetic experiences, connecting guests to one another and the event, while strengthening the spirit of the community in direct relationship with the venue.

“Designing gathering spaces that enable events, helping create an experience and generating non-traditional revenue for facility owners are all factors driving modern event space design,” said Stockdell.

DeSantis says that Stockdell’s expertise in the convention center sector, combined with HKS’ deep experience across all building types, creates a dynamic and collaborative approach that is unique to the industry.  It’s a new and innovative design and delivery model that benefits the long-term building needs of clients by offering a full spectrum of services specifically tailored for public agencies and municipalities, private developers, landowners, institutions, universities and more.

HKS’ assembly facility portfolio includes the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center expansion in Dallas (in association with SOM); Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas; University of Texas at Austin AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center; Omni Nashville Convention Center Hotel and the in-design 2-million-square-foot Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center in Aurora, Colorado, as well as many other cultural arts venues, sports facilities and convention center hotels.

“With 21 domestic offices, HKS is a part of major and secondary markets throughout the country; we’re deeply rooted and actively involved in our communities,” says DeSantis. “We put that local knowledge to work in our design process to create places that are a reflection of and responsive to their communities, while delivering integrated design solutions infused with rich amenities, and the highest standards for building users with respect to comfort, enjoyment, technology and sustainability,” he added.   

HKS, Inc. is a leading architectural design firm ranked among the top five architectural engineering firms, according to Building Design+Construction magazine. Since its founding in 1939, HKS has completed construction projects totaling more than $477 billion in more than 1,498 cities located in 84 countries. The firm operates from 27 offices worldwide.

For more information, contact Julie Wellik at jwellik@hksinc.com.

Posted in All Markets, Convention Centers
Tagged convention Centers, Jr., Ken Stockdell, Nunzio DeSantis