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Mon April 12 2021

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Populous to design £90m Bristol Arena

18 Mar 15 Populous has been selected to design the £90m Bristol Arena and construction is on course to start early next year.

Populous's Bristol Arena by night
Populous's Bristol Arena by night

After the conclusion of a design contest run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), attention now turns to selecting a contractor for the project.

The winning design team is international arena and stadium design specialist Populous, in partnership with Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects and BuroHappold Engineering. Populous designed the London Olympic Stadium as well as O2 Arenas in London, Berlin and Dublin, and the recently completed Leeds Arena.

The 12,000 capacity arena is set to be built on the former diesel depot site next to Bristol Temple Meads railway station in the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. The project is funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership. It is expected to open by the end of 2017.

Bristol mayor George Ferguson, who also happens to be a past president of the RIBA, said: “I am delighted with the outcome of this vital design competition. The Populous team has presented an innovative design for a horseshoe shaped arena that will allow us real flexibility for programming, for now and into the future, offering both performers and audiences an outstanding acoustic and visual experience. The new arena shone out as the best of five great designs and will sit comfortably on the ‘Arena Island’ site next to Temple Meads and the Bath Road.”

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Although Bristol is one of the last cities in the UK to build an arena, this design, is an evolution of some the world’s best venues and gave the expert panel real confidence in the team’s ability to deliver a very special venue for the region.”

Populous architect Nicholas Reynolds said: “We believe Bristol Arena will be the catalyst for the creation of a vibrant new quarter in the city. The design is flexible enough to cater for a wide variety of events and creates a range of spaces inside and out of the venue itself, for people to come together right throughout the year. Our design for Bristol Arena is unique. It delivers a world-class live concert venue for 12,000 fans, and with seamless conversion the atmosphere and intimacy of a 4,000 seat amphitheatre. The adaptive façade will provide the canvas, which defines the identity of the building within the Bristol skyline, as it transitions between an ephemeral form by day, to a dynamic event backdrop by night.”

The other shortlisted design teams were:

  • Grimshaw with Manica Architecture, Thornton Tomasetti, M-E Engineers and Neil Woodger Acoustics
  • Idom with Foreman Roberts and Nagata Acoustics
  • White Arkitekter with Arup and Sandy Brown Acoustic Consultant
  • Wilkinson Eyre with Arup.

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