Sports architect working with local practice Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios

Populous' winning design for Bristol Arena

Populous’ winning design for Bristol Arena

Populous and Feilden Clegg Bradley have won the RIBA competition to design a new £91m arena for Bristol.

The contest was launched by former RIBA president George Ferguson in one of his first moves after becoming mayor of Bristol.

The practices beat a shortlist that included Grimshaw and Wilkinson Eyre.

The competition panel praised the winning team for its “unique innovative concept” that would allow the 12,000capacity stadium to be easily converted for smaller, theatre-style events.

Aecom is cost consultant and employer’s agent on the project.

Ferguson said: “I am delighted with the outcome of this vital design competition.

“The Populous team has presented an innovative design for a horseshoe shaped arena that will allow us real flexibility for programming, for now and into the future, offering both performers and audiences an outstanding acoustic and visual experience. The new arena shone out as the best of five great designs and will sit comfortably on the ‘Arena Island’ site next to Temple Meads and the Bath Road.”

He said Bristol was one of the last cities in the UK to build an arena but as a result it benefitted from the expertise that had gone into some of the world’s best venues. Populous is behind the Leeds Arena which opened in 2013 and hosted last summer’s opening ceremony of the Tour de France which started in the city.

Populous has designed stadia all over the world, including the Olympic Stadium in London.

The practice’s Nicholas Reynolds said their flexible design was “unique”.

“The adaptive façade will provide the canvas, which defines the identity of the building within the Bristol skyline, as it transitions between an ephemeral form by day, to a dynamic event backdrop by night,” he added.

Peter Clegg of Bath-based Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios said: “Framed by the railway and the River Avon, the arena has been designed to reflect the proud history and heritage of the city of Bristol, creating an iconic new form within the city, which is respectful and responsive to its unique location.

“While the masonry plinth base will reflect the surrounding buildings, the beautiful crystalline upper form will allow the arena to continually adapt to mirror the changing face and form of the city.”

Bristol Arena will sit in the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone which has been masterplanned by Allies & Morrison.

Work is expected to start on site in 2016, with the arena due to open at the end of 2017.