Attractions industry news

09 Apr 2018

Swansea council strikes deal for 'state-of-the-art' waterfront arena with vast digital façade

New details have been announced for the entertainment arena being developed in Swansea as part of a £1.3bn leisure investment designed to reinvigorate the Welsh city centre's cultural scene.

Swansea City and County Council has announced the signing of a deal with live entertainment company the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) to operate Swansea Arena, construction of which will begin this year.

Architecture practice ACME is designing the 8,825sq m (95,000sq ft) building, which will host concerts, exhibitions, theatrical events and conferences and boast a capacity of 3,500 people when it opens in 2020.

According to the design team, “the structure will have a fluid form of bifurcating curves that has been influenced by the spatial requirements of the programme – each peel representing a specific use that sits above a glazed plinth.”

Its pleated anodized aluminium façade – developed in collaboration with Murphy Facade Studio – will feature a vast digital wall and integrated LED lighting to broadcast events and performances to the adjacent square. Landscape architects Capita Lovejoy will create the public realm around the site.

Friedrich Ludewig, director of ACME, said: “We’ve worked on the regeneration of Swansea for the last 10 years, and we are proud to be able to deliver the first major step in the regeneration of the city centre, which will ultimately create a vibrant pedestrian route from Oxford Street to the beach of Swansea Bay.

“The arena design was developed to provide internal flexibility while creating an animated external façade at the heart of a new coastal park.”

The venue – which represents the first phase of the long-term Swansea Bay City Deal – is to be constructed by Swansea’s old Dockland Coal Drops, forming a new attraction to bring people back to a neglected part of the city.

According to Mark Cornell, CEO of ATG, it will “become a market-leading venue with our strong focus on customer service, high quality and diverse content.”

Commenting on the project, Swansea Council Leader Rob Stewart said: “I am delighted that we have secured ATG to operate our state-of-the-art digital indoor arena. It is a testimony to the potential of Swansea that we have attracted such a high-quality company that clearly shares our vision for the future of the city.

“We are determined to enhance the city centre area for the benefit of both the people of Swansea and our visitors, and this deal represents another major milestone along that journey.”

ACME – who have offices in London, Berlin and Melbourne – have worked on 180 projects in 25 countries, including the new arcades at Victoria Gate in Leeds, the new Eastland Library in Melbourne and Robina Market in Queensland. They are currently working on a new footbridge in Berlin, several hotels in Knightsbridge and Aldgate and 600 residential units in the City of London.

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