Spectacular new images of Leeds Arena revealed


The journey to deliver the Leeds Arena takes a giant step forward today as proposals for the building’s exterior design are revealed for the first time.

A striking honeycomb design has been chosen with an ever-changing kaleidoscope of coloured lights which will come alive on an evening and change colour or pattern to reflect the mood of the arena event at the time. Perhaps purple if a certain ‘artist’ requests - or maybe pink for Pink!

Jan Anderson, Executive Director of Environment for Yorkshire Forward said:

“These designs show the state of the art development that will be Leeds Arena. Leeds City Council identified the development of an arena in the city as a key investment priority many years ago and it has remained one of their highest priorities for delivery. We are pleased that we have been able to help bring the project to fruition.

“This is an opportunity for Yorkshire and Humber to significantly enhance its visitor offer and to increase visitor numbers. In turn, the region will benefit from increased spend in areas such as retail and restaurant visits, hotel stays and extended weekend breaks. The addition of the Leeds Arena to the region’s other fantastic venues will help to grow our profile as a location for major cultural and sporting events.”

Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Keith Wakefield, said:

“The design has been carefully chosen to ensure the building is an exciting addition to the Leeds night-time scene helping to draw in visitors, boost the evening economy and act as an commanding gateway to the city centre. It has also been developed to take account of the views of nearly a 1000 Leeds people who took part in the public consultation on the scheme.

“The Leeds Arena will bring over 500 construction jobs to Leeds, many of these for local people and it estimated to boost the local economy to the tune of £25.5m. It is extremely important for the regeneration of that part of the city.”

Leeds Arena fly through animation video from Leeds City Council on Vimeo.

The stunning images, published today, are the first external design images of the 13,500 capacity arena to be revealed since the widespread public consultation into the development was completed last year.

The public outlined a desire for a building that was distinctive to Leeds and had environmentally friendly features, good acoustics, glazed panels and outside seating areas and this has all been carefully incorporated into the design.

Opportunities have been used to make the building energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Heating will come from air source pumps, the roof collects rainwater to be re-used in the running of the building and an area will have a green sedum roof to help enhance the environment.

The internal layout of the Leeds Arena is also unique with a ‘super theatre’ fan shape design which guarantees every seat in the house has perfect sightlines of the centre stage - 68 metres the longest distance from the stage as opposed to 90-110 metres at a conventional arena. With 4000 square metres of public space, 24 executive boxes, flexible seating lay-outs and a 100 seat restaurant, the facilities will also be top-notch.

Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member responsible for development, said:

“The internal design will give the best spectator experience of any arena in the country in terms of sightlines and acoustics. Add this with the vibrant, memorable external design, and we have a venue that is of international significance.”

John Sutherland, Managing Director and Senior Vice President of SMG Europe who are the operators for the arena, said:

“This is not another 'me-too' arena which you can find in many cities. The concept and innovative design will make Leeds one of the most exciting and innovative performance spaces in Europe. I am confident that under SMG's management, the Leeds Arena will be one of the top 10 places to play in the world, attracting top class artists and up to a million visitors each year.

“The race is now on to secure the naming rights for what will be one of the UK’s ‘must play’ venues. This brilliant design allows the colours on the building not only to reflect the event but also the naming rights to the building and their brand partner. All of which will make the venue very commercially attractive. “

A specially commissioned 3-minute animation of the Leeds Arena design, with a soundtrack provided by local Leeds band, Escort Knights, is available at the Leeds City Council website, leeds.gov.uk/arena where people can learn more about the design. It will be shown on Millennium Square screen and a public exhibition stand on the new design will also tour the city centre in September.

For more information, please go the Leeds Arena page on Leeds City Council's website.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The exterior design proposals for the Leeds Arena uses what is a complex mathematical algorithm – a voronoi diagram – to create cellular shapes that are visible on key approaches to the arena. The Leeds Arena will be the only arena in Europe to be designed this way.
  2. The Leeds Arena will be located within the city centre at Clay Pit lane. Work to build it is scheduled to start later this year and due to complete in late 2012.
  3. The Leeds Arena project team has some of the most experienced experts in arena design and operation: the operator, SMG Europe is the largest operator of sports and entertainment venues in Europe. The parent group SMG is the largest operator of arenas in the world.
  4. Initial designs were delivered by a multi-disciplinary team led by Jacobs including Arena specialists Populous. The detailed external design has been completed by Populous who have a track record of delivering high profile and complex development, the Arsenal Emirates stadium, the O2 arenas in London, Dublin and Berlin, and Wimbledon Centre Court roof.

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