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RISING STARS 2017 COHORT

Principal, Populous 

Part 2: 2009  Part 3: 2010

‘He arrived at Populous and very soon was leading on their core business,’ says Rising Stars judge John Nordon. This was recognised this year when Declan Sharkey became the practice’s youngest principal, at the age of 32. His projects include QPR Stadium and Elite Training Facility, Real Madrid Stadium, Copenhagen Arena and Nanjing Olympic Village. 

His reference from Populous managing director for EMEA, Christopher Lee, explains his value: ‘He is a natural leader with incredible attention to detail, an astute business acumen and a particular flair for problem solving. Since joining the firm seven years ago, he has quickly become one of the practice’s key leaders.’

  • Real Madrid Stadium.
    Real Madrid Stadium.
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That leadership is demonstrated by the way he runs multiple projects simultaneously, currently in Finland, Ireland and Italy, taking the lead on everything from design to client liaison, planning, programming and contract issues. He heads the firm’s global training centre group in EMEA and mentors younger architects. 

Sharkey also takes his expertise into the field, as when he was chosen to lead an international group to audit India’s major sports venues for the All India Football Federation. He continues to be involved in his family’s joinery workshop business.

  • Copenhagen Arena.
    Copenhagen Arena.
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What would you most like to improve about the industry?

In an industry of multiple consultants, architects should bring unrivalled knowledge and value to projects for clients, in part by offering a more comprehensive service.

What existing building or place would you most like to tackle?

I would like to spend more time in Asia developing a sustainable, adaptable sports facility. The cultural and political differences within each city make this the ideal area to develop a modular, multifunctional venue that could be adapted in scale and use to suit the city, country or region.


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