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Five shortlisted designs for the Bristol Arena revealed

Five shortlisted designs for the GBP£90m Bristol Arena have been revealed following a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) International Design Competition.

The five entries for the 12,000-capacity indoor entertainment venue went on display to the public today, 29th January, with local residents and businesses being asked for their comments.

The design teams, all with experience of delivering major venues in the UK or overseas, are:

  • Grimshaw: Architects of the Eden project (with MANICA Architecture, Thornton Tomasetti, M-E Engineers and Neil Woodger Acoustics)
  • IDOM: Designers of the Bilbao Arena (in collaboration with Foreman Roberts and Nagata Acoustics)
  • Populous: Architects of the London Olympic Stadium (with Feilden Clegg Bradley, Buro Happold and Vanguardia)
  • White Arkitekter: Architects of Kiruna City Plan, Sweden (with Arup and Sandy Brown Acoustic Consultant)
  • Wilkinson Eyre: Architects of the Liverpool Arena (with Arup)

Bristol Mayor, George Ferguson said:

This is a once in a generation opportunity to design a great performance venue for the city region that also boosts the regeneration of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. The successful design must above all function well, whilst inspiring audiences and offering a great experience for artists. The new arena must also work effectively and flexibly whilst being deliverable and affordable. I want to know what people think of these five shortlisted designs for this important venue, looking as much as possible beyond the imagery. The competition panel will consider all comments when it meets to analyse and judge all aspects of the proposals at the end of February.

Lynne Sullivan, RIBA, commented:

The judging panel are looking forward to evaluating the shortlisted teams’ work and having sight of creative vision applied to the Arena brief for this underused part of Bristol City centre.

Colin Skellett, Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, added:

This is an exciting time for the arena project and these designs offer the first idea of what it will look like. The arena is a key part of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone and with the new bridge construction well underway, and an operator on board, the project is moving forwards well.

The public will not know which team is responsible for which design until the successful team has been selected in March.

The design competition will be judged by a panel including the Mayor of Bristol, representatives from Bristol City Council and RIBA, an experienced music and performing arts promoter and a leading structural engineer with experience of arena and stadium engineering.

They will make the final decision on the successful design, which will judged against criteria including:

  • The architectural concept, how it fits within the urban context and offers a vibrant experience
  • The deliverability and affordability of the design
  • The flexibility, efficiency and sustainability of the venue
  • How the design meets all the requirements of Bristol City Council and the operator SMG and Live Nation

A successful design team will be announced in March.

The Bristol Arena is due to open towards the end 2017 and will be located close to Bristol Temple Meads station in the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. The project is funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership through its Economic Development Fund and will bring the biggest acts and millions of pounds of economic growth to the region.

The five shortlisted designs, in alphabetical order:


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