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ARCHITECTURE


MAGALI ROBATHAN, JOURNALIST, SPORTS MANAGEMENT


The arena’s exterior and its masonry plinths have been designed to reflect the industrial heritage of the Bristol area


A SPACE FOR ALL SEASONS A flexible design concept secured architects Populous the


prestigious £90m Bristol Arena project. Populous’ Mike Trice explains how the winning design will work in practice


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nternational architecture firm Populous was declared the winner of a design competition for the £90m Bristol Arena in March 2015. The winning team – comprising Populous, Feilden Clegg


Bradley, BuroHappold and Vanguardia – was selected from a shortlist of five. When the building opens in 2017, it will mean that Bristol no longer holds the unenviable title of being the UK’s largest city without a large arena-style venue.


FLEXIBILITY Populous’ winning design is a flexible, horseshoe-shaped arena that can easily convert from a 12,000-seat arena to a more intimate venue for smaller events. According to Populous design principal Mike Trice, providing versatility was key to winning the bid. “Our arena ticked all the boxes on function and form; it’s an eminently operable building,” he says. “The unique thing about the way it reconfigures


Mike Trice previously worked as project architect for the award winning Odyssey Arena in Belfast


is that it can go from a very small venue for 4,000 people up to a big venue for up to 12,000 people. It allows any sort of band to play in it and can cope with any sort of stage configuration. “It’s been designed to convert seamlessly, and we’ve been very deliberate about containing all the boxes within the end of the arena that’s always live. The way the roof is set out, you get a fan- shaped structure above the amphitheatre so the amphitheatre feels as though it’s been designed as a space on its own. It’s unique, the way we’ve delivered it as an architectural piece.” The exterior features a masonry plinth base, designed to reflect the industrial heritage of the Bristol area, with a crystalline disk above it. Trice says the disk can also be used as a marketing tool. “We can change the colour of it, project


on to it and use it to advertise events,” Trice says. “On non-event days it becomes a


sportsmanagement.co.uk issue 2 2015 © Cybertrek 2015


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