Buro Happold acquires stadium audio-visual company Vanguardia


Stadium engineers Buro Happold has announced its acquisition of acoustics and audio-visual consultancies, Vanguardia Limited, and its subsidiary Crowd Dynamics International.

Buro Happold and Vanguardia have worked together on some of the world’s leading sports and entertainment infrastructure, including Emirates Stadium, Tottenham Hotspur’s Stadium, the O2 Arena, Silverstone Racetrack, Qatar Education City Stadium, The Fisht Olympic Stadium at Sochi in Russia and the London Stadium.

The acquisition increases Buro Happold’s breadth and depth of expertise to help solve the complex challenges affecting stadia and entertainment venues. It also creates a platform for the continued growth of Vanguardia – which specializes in acoustics and audio-visual technology at sports and music venues – into other sectors and markets.

A press release read: ‘From shrinking income – heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic – to the climate emergency and competition from other sectors for leisure time, many organizations in the sports and entertainment industries are seeking greater community or urban integration, or are looking to refresh assets to optimize the experience of their users and generate a commercial return. Together, the Buro Happold and Vanguardia teams will work to solve these problems faced by stadium and entertainment venue owners and operators, while also improving the experience for fans.’

“It is a really exciting time for Buro Happold,” says James Bruce, chief executive officer at Buro Happold. “Having worked alongside Vanguardia and Crowd Dynamics International for more than 20 years, it’s a natural step to formally bring them into the wider Buro Happold portfolio. We are enhancing our collective consultancy capabilities, creating significant opportunities for our clients.

“Our heritage of tackling global complex engineering challenges in the built environment puts us in the perfect position to advise and design exceptional solutions. This acquisition signals a period of rapid acceleration for our business and the industry as a whole”

The collaboration also extends from Buro Happold’s work in integrated engineering design and consultancy, and large-scale visioning for sports and entertainment precincts and the communities they serve. Specifically, the acquisition enhances the standalone and combined services of acoustics and sound engineering, environmental advisory services, plus a broad range of electro-acoustic and technology offers. It also provides a fully integrated mobility consulting offer encompassing inclusive design, waste and logistics, and crowd and traffic consulting capabilities.

Jim Griffiths, director of Vanguardia, said: “We are all very excited by the new opportunities that now exists with our new partners including the global reach that it gives Vanguardia and Crowd Dynamics International. This is a great opportunity for our clients and employees, and we welcome the opportunity of sharing our specialist expertise throughout Buro Happold.”

Matthew Birchall, global sports and entertainment sector lead and partner, Buro Happold, said: “We believe that venues should deliver a rich, memorable and sustainable experience for their visitors, and the best possible business returns for their stakeholders.

“Together, Buro Happold, Vanguardia and Crowd Dynamics will drive the creation of environments that deliver experiences to generate the best possible commercial and environmental performance.”

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James has been Editor of Stadia since 2018 having worked at print and digital magazines and websites around the world covering everything from lifestyle to sport, technology, motoring, and more. He also edits Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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