David Manica, the king of sports stadiums

Feb 11, 2024 978

"Sono molto orgoglioso delle mie origini italiane," David Manica said in Italian before switching to English for the rest of the presentation. It was 2019 and Manica, the most important and successful architect in the world when it comes to designing stadiums, was in Milan to present his proposal for Milan's new stadium. After that, Manica began working only with one of Milan's soccer clubs, AC Milan owned by the Italian American Red Bird fund, Gerry Cardinale.

Milan's new stadium will rise just outside Milan, in San Donato. And it will be yet another David Manica masterpiece: when you watch the images of the Superbowl tonight from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, know that that stadium is one of those designed by this talented Italian American.

David Manica, president and owner of his firm, has been recognized and honored over the years as one of the "Fifty Power Players in Sports Development" by the Sports Business Journal and was one of the top "40 Under 40" in the United States according to Building Construction and Design magazine.

Prior to founding his own design firm, David worked for thirteen years as a Senior Project Designer at HOK Sport Venue and Event (now Populous), where he spearheaded the design of over $5 billion worth of works around the world.

His experience in arena and stadium design includes leading design roles for some of the largest and most recognized facilities worldwide: the Vtb Arena Park in Moscow, Russia; the Golden State Warriors' Chase Center NBA stadium in San Francisco, CA; the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Doha, Qatar for the 2022 FIFA soccer World Cup; the new Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain; and the Toyota Center home of the Houston Rockets (TX) franchise in the NBA; again in Houston, the Reliant Stadium (the first NFL stadium with a retractable roof in the United States) of the Houston Texans (TX) in the NFL; the O2 Arena home of Arsenal and the new Wembley Stadium in London (England); the Beijing Olympic Arena known as the "Bird's Nest" in China; and the DRV PNK stadium in Fort Lauderdale (FL) for the Inter Miami soccer team. In addition, Manica Architecture was selected to help plan the new NFL stadium for the Chicago Bears at Arlington Park (IL), renovate Progressive Field for the Cleveland Guardians OH) and the construction to a new stadium in Nashville for the Tennessee Titans (TN).

His credo can be summed up in this sentence, "Anyone can draw a creative building on paper. It takes, however, a completely different kind of focus and a strategic sense for compromise to make a building rise out of the ground. Once it is built, my indicator of success is based on the people who use it. If the building brings people real joy and is a place they want to return to often, then that is the determining factor in identifying its success."

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