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Populous reveals new images of Bristol Arena

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The latest visuals of Populous’ competition-winning scheme for Bristol’s new £91 million arena have been revealed

The updated scheme for the 12,000-seat venue was submitted for planning earlier this week as part of two applications – one for how the arena will look on the day it opens and another for how sites surrounding the building will be developed over time.

Stadium specialists Populous, which is working with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and Buro Happold, saw off competition from Grimshaw, Bilbao Arena designer IDOM, Sweden’s White Arkitekter and Wilkinson Eyre to bag the prized job back in March.

Despite a public consultation showing strong backing for the scheme – more than 86 per cent supported it – the competition-winning designs have been changed.

The building, which was set to be clad in glass will now be clad in perforated steel. According to the practice this will create ‘a more subtle lighting effect’ while reducing the impact on surrounding areas.

The plans have also been developed further to show how event spaces in front of the arena can be used for performances, outdoor cinema, festivals and markets.

Water jets will provide an area for play when events are not taking place and green terraces will create an informal seating area for picnicking or recreation.

After some concerns about access to the site, the proposals were amended to include a new bridge over the nearby railway line, cycle paths, ‘shuttle trains’, increased cycle parking, and park and ride services.

Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson, said: ‘The submission of the planning application is another significant step towards the delivery of this important cultural venue for the region.

‘The consultation has demonstrated the strong support that exists for the arena however I have also listened to concerns raised, resulting in a number of changes being made to the plans. In particular I am pleased we have managed to find a solution for improving the cycle and walkway from the A4 arena entrance to 3 Lamps Junction, something that local residents were particularly keen to achieve.’

Head of the design team and senior principal of Populous, Nicholas Reynolds, added: ‘The design for Bristol Arena has evolved and grown in detail over the past few months.

‘The simple, elegant form of the lower plinth and upper elipse brings to life the idea of ‘ground and sky’. This creates 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; whilst at night, with the facade softly illuminated, the striking form is most evident, becoming a new landmark in Bristol.

‘The extraordinary setting of Arena Island is brought to life through dynamic landscapes and a series of terraces that flow from river to park, and through village to a new public square, providing the platform for a whole range of outdoor events and community activities.’

If the planning application is successful the arena is set to start on site in 2016 and is expected to complete in 2018.

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