Populous Reveals Designs for Lyon’s New Arena

October 24, 2022

Global architectural design firm Populous has revealed its design for the new 16,000 capacity Olympique Lyonnais Groupe indoor venue in Lyon, one of the most technologically and environmentally advanced in Europe. The venue, to be called the LDLC Arena, will be the largest in France outside Paris.

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In July 2021, Olympique Lyonnais awarded the contract to design and build the new arena to Populous, which also designed Lyon’s 59,186-capacity Groupama Stadium and Training Centre, completed in 2016. The project is the latest stage in the ‘OL Valley’ venture, which also saw a 23,000m2 leisure and entertainment centre open next to the stadium in 2021.

The new, multi-purpose LDLC Arena has been designed by Populous to deliver a modern and sustainable entertainment venue for Lyon and a cultural centre for the wider region. Most importantly, it will enable the city to attract the world’s best musicians and performers. A long-term commercial agreement between entertainment company Live Nation and Olympique Lyonnais Groupe was signed in October 2021, paving the way for construction of the venue to commence in January 2022.

This partnership began with the opening of the Groupama Stadium in 2016 and has seen it host concerts for a number of touring international artists such as Rihanna, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and The Rolling Stones. In terms of the LDLC Arena, the partnership will see an increase in the number of international acts that visit Lyon, drawing in spectators not only from the city itself but also from the surrounding region and beyond.

Scheduled for completion by the end of 2023, the new, modular and highly adaptable LDLC Arena is expected to host between 100 to 120 events per year, including LDLC ASVEL’s Euroleague basketball matches, futsal, tennis, esports competitions, large scale seminars and trade shows, as well its programme of live concerts. It will have a capacity of 16,000 for concerts and 12,000 for sporting events. The arena will be equipped with three stands facing the stage, and a fourth removable one for use during sporting events.

The newly released imagery reveals an arena that is striking in appearance yet sympathetic in its connection to its surroundings. This is achieved by the outer skin or ‘veil’ of the arena, which creates depth and breaks down the volume of the acoustic box. This striking cladding system, comprising textured panels set at different angles, softens the outline of the building and creates a dialogue with landscape through its openings and perforations.

Internally, the innovative seating bowl design places every fan as close to the performance area as possible, creating an intense atmosphere for events, while the food and drink concessions on offer throughout the venue will deliver a hospitality experience that encourages fans to arrive at the arena earlier and stay later.

Sustainability has been at the heart of the design process. Populous has optimised the layout of the internal spaces to minimise the footprint of the building and, in turn, reduce the volume of building materials needed. The shell of the building comprises an innovative double skin, which helps to regulate the temperature within the arena and minimise the need for climate control systems.

The arena will generate its own energy with 6,000s sqm of photovoltaic panels on the main roof. In the public realm surrounding the venue, 30% of the total area will be green space, with the scheme to include hundreds of mature trees and a large bird reservation to the north of the site.

Christopher Lee, Managing Director – EMEA, Populous, said:

“Our work with Olympique Lyonnais to create and deliver the world-class Groupama Stadium is something Populous is immensely proud of, so we are naturally very excited to be able to team up again to deliver the LDLC Arena.

“The focus again is on providing a great atmosphere and exceptional, best-in-class hospitality facilities that ensure the arena is a destination venue for the whole region and maintains the momentum of the ambitious and sustainable vision Olympique Lyonnais is delivering for the regeneration of this area of the city.”

Francois Clement, Senior Principal and leader of Populous’ business operations in France, said:

“We are proud to once again be working alongside the Olympique Lyonnais Groupe on the design and delivery of a world-class sports and entertainment venue for Lyon. LDLC Arena will be a huge asset to city as the focus of the Groupe’s ambitious OL Valley venture, which will provide the local community and wider region with anew centre for cultural activity. The arena will attract the best global talent in live entertainment and provide a new home for LDLC ASVEL befitting of one of French basketball’s most successful teams.”

For more information, please contact:

Sean Julliard, +44 7795 825 394 or sean.julliard@populous.com

Robert Pine, +44 7894 462 342 or robert.pine@ing-media.com


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