Design Plans Revealed for Manchester Arena


For its first project located outside of the United States, sports and live entertainment company Oak View Group (Los Angeles), has recently revealed plans for a new 23,500-seat multi-purpose arena in Manchester.

Once completed, the OVG Manchester Arena is slated to be the largest indoor arena in the United Kingdom, surpassing the capacity of the Manchester Arena (21,000 seats) and the O2 Arena (20,000 seats) in London.

Design Plans

Serving as the project’s principal architect, global design firm Populus crafted the arena’s design plans, which have since been submitted to the Manchester City Council for approval.

Currently, the area is expected to sit on a 2.2-hectare (roughly 5.4 acres) plot, just north of the city’s Etihad Stadium, home of the Manchester City football club. Although a busy area, OVG believes that both stadiums will be able to coexist with ease. However, clashing reports indicate that the owner of the Manchester Arena is skeptical.

Focusing in the new arena’s design, renderings reveal a modern, sleek shape, finished with a black façade.

Populus notes that the venue’s, “bold contemporary form complements the public realm and combines aesthetic beauty with a recognizable and identifiable profile that will be globally recognized as being inspired by contemporary Manchester.”

Inside, the arena is comprised of a main auditorium complete with ringed LED features ideal for concerts, sports and other entertainment events. The space is reported to have the most standing capacity in the U.K., thanks to the arena’s ability to retract seats located on the lower tier. Reports on the design also note that the upper tier of the venue is lower than most arenas as well. In fact, Populus predicts that visitors will be closer to the stage than any other arena in Europe, given the structure’s “transformer-like bowl.”

A concourse, various lounge spaces and back-of-house areas are also included in the design plans.

“This ground-breaking venue will set new benchmarks in sustainable arena design, as well as creating an experience and form that sits perfectly within Manchester’s architectural context and vibrant community,” said Declan Sharkey, senior principal and project architect at Populous, in a press statement. “We are delighted to be working with Oak View Group on its exciting vision for East Manchester.”

Additional features include a grounded lower masonry plinth, upper lightweight stepped box, architectural lighting and photovoltaic panels on the roof.

According to The Architect’s Newspaper, all aspects of the project were specifically designed to meet Manchester’s Zero Carbon 2038 commitments. Once complete, the arena will rank among the most environmentally sensitive arenas in the world, aiming to also be a low-waste facility. The facility is also aiming to achieve a Gold Standard certification from charity Attitude is Everything, who focuses on improving access at live music events for deaf and disabled individuals.

Construction on the privately funded $440 million project is expected to take three years to complete and with Royal BAM Group serving as the contractor. During the construction phase, the project is expected to generate 3,500 jobs and 1,000 jobs when the arena is in operation.


Tagged categories: Architects; Color + Design; Color + Design; Commercial / Architectural; Commerial/Architectural; Design; Design build; EU; Europe; Interior design; Project Management; Projects - Commercial; Stadiums/Sports Facilities; Upcoming projects

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