ABBA's temporary, transportable arena hosts the iconic band's virtual reunion tour

ABBA's temporary, transportable arena hosts the iconic band's virtual reunion tour

abba arena: design for a virtual performance

 

London-based practice Stufish Entertainment Architects presents its ABBA arena, a demountable pop-up theater purpose-built for the Swedish pop group’s reunion tour. The mass-timber arena has been erected at east London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to host the tour celebrating the release of ABBA Voyage, the group’s first album in nearly four decades. This cutting-edge show will recreate the experience of the 1970s, as band members will perform as hologram-like ‘digital avatars’ designed by Industrial Light & Magic.

 

The temporary architecture has been thoughtfully designed to be easily transported for future use in other locations. The 3,000-capacity will be built on a previously disused parking lot beside the Dockland Light Railway’s Pudding Mill station where it will be located for the next five years.

ABBA's temporary, transportable arena hosts the iconic band's virtual reunion tourimages courtesy Stufish Entertainment Architects

 

 

a temporary venue for timeless music 

 

Stufish Entertainment Architects (see more here) designed the ABBA arena to outlive the lifespan of the ABBA Voyage tour (see more here), which will run until May 2023. While the structure is scheduled to exist on the east London site for five years, it will ultimately be transported for future use elsewhere. Inside, the structure will take shape with an internal clear span of 61 meters (200 feet) and allow for an immersive, 360-degree experience.

 

Promoters of the show comment on the ‘breathtaking’ arena: ‘The venue is built around ABBA’s timeless music and never-before-seen concert, so you can have the time of your life in general admission or have the option of a seat in the auditorium if you prefer. You can even party in style in your own dance booth.’

abba arena

 

 

the mass-timber pop-up stadium

 

Early plans for the structure were first reviewed by a quality review panel chaired by Catherine Burd at London Legacy Development Corporation in November 2019. While the panelists were optimistic that the timber design promised to be beautiful, they offered warning regarding the construction: ‘Given that the structure is to be re-used –- with a life span expected to extend well beyond its three years at Pudding Mill –- the panel urges that investment in quality be made now.

 

The design of the building, including its materiality, must result in a structure that is not only beautiful, but also durable.

 

The panel urges that the intention to use timber for both the theatre building cladding and the canopy structure be fully followed through, without compromise.’

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