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RIBA launches £90m Bristol arena design contest

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The RIBA has launched an international design contest for a new 12,000-capacity venue in central Bristol

The Bristol City Council-backed contest seeks an ‘inspiring’ design for the new indoor multi-purpose arena which is planned to open in summer 2017.

The £90 million building will occupy a former diesel depot site next to Temple Meads railway station known as ‘Arena Island’ and masterplanned by Allies and Morrison.

Bristol mayor and former RIBA president George Ferguson said: ‘The Bristol Arena is key to the city region’s future and will act as a major catalyst to the development of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

‘We have to grasp the opportunity to design a building that not only works really effectively but is an inspiring place that enriches this new quarter of the city.’

He continued: ‘I want the Bristol Arena to become the arena of choice for performers, as well as offering an excellent visitor experience. As an architect I recognise that the design of the building is critical in achieving this.’

Ferguson initially revealed plans for the contest back in March 2013.

The contest is open to multi-disciplinary design teams specialising in architecture, structural and building engineering.

The winning team will be expected to have prior experience of place making and designing performance venues.

Five shortlisted teams will be invited to participate in the design contest. A winning team will be announced in February.

A planning application will be submitted next year with the project expected to start on site in early 2016.

The deadline for applications is 18 September.

Previous story (AJ 31.03.13)

Contest for 12,000 seat arena in Bristol launched

Former RIBA President and newly elected Bristol mayor George Ferguson has announced a design contest for a 12,000-spectator arena in the city

The project will be built close to Bristol Temple Meads station and aims to be ‘the most environmentally friendly building of its kind ever built’.

The stadium is planned to open in four years’ time despite funding cuts faced by the city with the Local Enterprise Partnership approached for funding.

After previous failed attempts to create an indoor arena, the land had been reportedly earmarked to become allotments in 2012 before the arena ambitions resurfaced.

Read more about George Ferguson’s plans for Bristol here.

In November 2009 the former RIBA president, the co-founder of Ferguson Mann Architects, resorted to ‘guerrilla architecture’ in an attempt to block development of the Bristol City’s soon-to-be vacated city centre site, which was being backed by Tesco.

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