populous' leeds arena shows its chameleon skin
populous' leeds arena shows its chameleon skin
oct 20, 2013

populous' leeds arena shows its chameleon skin

‘leeds arena’ by populous, leeds, england
all images courtesy of populous




global stadium-design connoisseurs populous have just completed their newest structure, the leeds arena, in england. the fan-shaped bowl is an innovation to indoor arenas around the world, focusing on keeping the closest proximity to the performance stage even from the farthest seat which lies only 67 meters away. the modestly sized 123,000-seat super-theater sits at the heart of the downtown area in the cultural district, integrating within and complimenting the existing infrastructure. with such a close proximity to surrounding buildings in a dense urban zone, the exterior of the arena beckoned special attention to express the building’s presence without aggressively overtaking the night-scape or becoming bland. the layered geometries that make up the exterior envelope are brought to life during events, reflecting the mood of the performance and giving visitors a thrilling visual effect. made with standard off-the-shelf LED light strips, the facade is able to activate or deactivate itself at the touch of a button, displaying any combination of colors and patterns.  equipped with 15 rows of removable stage-level seating, the arena can transform from a musical venue to a basketball court, tennis court, boxing ring, or wrestling mat, amongst other sports.


the architects describe the seating strategy:


‘the seating bowl design follows a fan shape. this maximizes the viewing angle and sight lines, as well as the flexibility of configuration in event mode. unobstructed viewing was provided from all seats where practically possible, taking into account local codes and requirements for safety ballustrading heights and side loading requirements. a minimum c value of 90 was be applied, and where possible the seating terraces were designed on a parabolic rake. the minimum terrace width is 800 mm with varying riser heights depending upon the parabolic rake with a maximum riser height of 540 mm between terraces and a minimum riser height of 130 mm.’



populous' leeds arena shows its chameleon skin
main entrance



populous' leeds arena shows its chameleon skin
various colored illuminations



populous' leeds arena shows its chameleon skin



populous' leeds arena shows its chameleon skin
LED’s allow any color to be displayed



populous' leeds arena shows its chameleon skin
skin detail



populous' leeds arena shows its chameleon skin
interior of fan-shaped seating bowl



populous' leeds arena shows its chameleon skin



populous' leeds arena shows its chameleon skin
aerial view






project info:


client: leeds city council
architecture: – populous
engineering: – arup
operator: – smg
project management/ cost consultant: – davis langdon (aecom)
procurement/ feasibility: – pmp/ ipw/ arup
landscape architect: – grontmij
main contractor: – bam
total site area: 20,580 m2; roof area: 11,000 m2; internal floor area: 29,727 m2
building height: 41.5 m
cost: £60 million,
dates: april 2009 – march 2013
sustainability: breeam bespoke – “very good” fan shape bowl, three main concourse levels, plus one box suite level & event floor
sightline value: minimum c90
focal point: up stage centre, adjusted to arena event configuration
furthest seat to stage: 67m
maximum capacity: 13,500 spectators
base event modes: end stage concert mode (sitting), centre stage standing mode, end stage concert mode (standing), sports modes (i.e. basketball, tennis, boxing mode)
facilities: 24 suites, 94 food and beverage outlets, 24 merchandise outlets, 3 restaurants

  • Really a great design.
    Isn’t the 123,000 seat capacity a misprint?
    Beautiful building.

    Ron Smith
  • Very cool, would probably be an awesome venue to play at!

    Wes Diamoni

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