Creating a destination venue for Bristol

Bristol Arena

  • Bristol
  • 2019

Challenge. Bristol is currently the only major city in the UK without an arena to call its own. Populous Arena Team’s innovative design is set to rectify this situation in style, giving the people of Bristol the kind of entertainment venue that will attract the biggest performers from across the globe. Sitting comfortably on the ‘Arena Island’ site next to Temple Meads and the Bath Road, Bristol Arena will spur the creation of a vibrant new quarter in the city. The design is flexible enough to cater for a wide variety of events, creating a range of spaces inside and out of the venue.

Innovation. The 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 4,500-seat amphitheatre. The simple, elegant form of the lower plinth and upper elipse brings to life the idea of ‘ground and sky’, creating both a strong civic presence and a dynamic, reflective surface which responds to the surrounding landscape. During daylight the curving form and reflective cladding catch the light, changing with the weather and season. At night, with the facade softly illuminated, the striking form is most evident, becoming a new landmark in Bristol.

The arena aims to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, making it the UK’s most sustainable arena – a fitting tribute to the 2015 European Green Capital. Using cutting-edge design principles, the arena could feature an innovative displacement ventilation system and has provision for the biggest photovoltaic system in the city. It will also help create a new cycle and pedestrian link between the station and the residential areas to the south and east.

Impact. Bristol Arena will be an inspirational environment that reflects Bristol’s ambitions and culture, and delivers the best possible experience for visitors and city residents alike. By catering for many different performances and audiences, from music to comedy, and from sport to exhibitions, the arena will be able to offer an extended event calendar for both the local community and visitors to Bristol.

The arena design also creates a lively plaza for the community to enjoy right through the year, making the area a destination every day, not just on event days. Bristol Arena will be a hub of activity that works in harmony with the local environment, showcasing world-leading design and engineering, and creating lasting experiences for all.