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AFL lands Swansea arena delivery role

AFL Architects has been appointed to deliver Swansea Central Phase One, the first stage of the city’s high-profile regenerative masterplan, which includes a new arena.

Proposals for project spending have been approved by Swansea Council and a ground-breaking ceremony was held on the 25 November.

AFL was commissioned at the start of 2019 by Buckingham Group. The practice, taking control of the design at RIBA Stage 3, has been carrying out a full review of the original concept design and now acting as delivery architects. AFL is also responsible for the redesign of the north car park and residential development.

The full plans for the site include a 3,500-capacity digital indoor arena, coastal park, digital plaza, landmark pedestrian bridge, 36 flats, 15 retail units and a multi-storey car park. A raised podium above the carpark will host an innovative planted public realm, creating a seamless integration of green infrastructure.

The arena building is to be the main anchor and visual landmark of the scheme. At 8654m2, the arena will have a capacity of 3,500 for concert mode, 2,196 for theatre mode and 750 for conference mode. The hospitality areas have been created to be highly flexible to optimise revenue.

John Roberts, director, AFL Architects said:

We are delighted to have been appointed to work on this exciting scheme. Our experience of delivery up to this point has been extremely rewarding, as we continue to work closely with our client to challenge, optimise and fulfil the city’s vision of Swansea Central. As construction begins, we look forward to this vision being realised.

Buckingham Group has estimated that Swansea Central phase one will deliver a £17 million annual boost to the city’s economy, provide construction work for local firms, create 600 long-term jobs, pave the way for a second round of city centre development – called Swansea Central phase two – and encourage further private sector investment.

The phase one transformation is due to be completed in 2021. AFL’s commission follows the practice’s success designing and delivering the Bonus Arena, a legacy project and highly-successful regenerative project created as part of Hull’s City of Culture 2017 celebrations.

Images courtesy of AFL Architects.