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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

The SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland by Foster + Partners

 
October 11th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Foster + Partners

Rod Stewart to open The SSE Hydro, a major new entertainment venue for Scotland

The SSE Hydro, Scotland’s largest purpose-built public event arena, will open to the public with a concert by Rod Stewart on 30 September. Its free spanning roof of 120 metres, large enough to encompass Glasgow’s Queen Street railway station, encloses a highly flexible amphitheatre for an audience of up to 13,000. Externally, the arena is wrapped in lightweight translucent panels taking the excitement of the concert to the city – the whole building can be illuminated to glow as a beacon of colour on the waterfront.

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

  • Architects: Foster + Partners
  • Project: The SSE Hydro
  • Location: Glasgow, Scotland
  • Photography: Foster + Partners, Nigel Young_Foster + Partners,  Marc Turner.
  • Client: Scottish Exhibition Centre Ltd (SEC)
  • Design Team: David Nelson, Spencer de Grey, David Summerfield, Ben Scott, Chris Connell, Mike Jelliffe, Claire Donnelly, James Edwards David Gillespie, John McCulley, Scott McQueen, Gregor Milne, Mouzafer Ntagkala, Samantha So.
  • Structural Engineer: Arup
  • Structural and Services Engineer: Arup Scotland
  • Mechanical and Electrical Engineers:  Arup
  • Project Management: Turner & Townsend Project Management
  • Quantity Surveyor: Gardiner & Theobald LLP
  • Fire Consultant: Arup Fire
  • Environmental and Transport Planning:  Arup Scotland
  • Planning Consultant: Keppie
  • Planning Supervisor: Halcrow
  • Acoustic Consultant: Sandy Brown Associates
  • Audio-visual Consultant: Shen Milsom Wilke
  • Main Contractor: Lend Lease
  • Appointment: 2005
  • Construction Start: 2010
  • Completion: 2013
  • Area (Gross): Approximately 25,000m²

Image Courtesy © Marc Turner

Capacity:
  • 12,000 seats for concerts and performances (13,000 with standing),
  • Flexible format at ground floor to suit other capacities and layouts.
Structure
  • Concrete frame with ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) Air Filled Pillow Façade
  • The ETFE ‘pillows’ are some of the largest ever used on a façade
  • The 120m span shallow dome is formed from a diagrid spaceframe with tapered Kalzip sheeting
  • The dome is 45m above ground level at its highest point

Façade

  • The façade is 15m high at the rear (north) and rises to 33m at the front (south)
  • Transparent cladding at upper levels provides views south over the river
  • The upper part of the building is clad in translucent ETFE material, allowing daylight in during the day and enabling the building to glow at night
Facilities:
  • Large public foyers on the ground and second floors with full supporting facilities
  • Dedicated VIP level on the first floor with hospitality boxes and club seating
  • Performance ‘bowl’ at ground level can used a combination of fixed, retractable and removable seating in order to create different staging and concert layouts as well as some sports events
  • Food, drink and merchandising outlets
  • Back-of-house accommodation for SECC and visiting shows

Facts:

  • The ‘non stick’ self cleaning properties of ETFE mean that dirt will not stick to the surface
  • Wind sensors positioned on the roof adjust the pillow pressure proportionately up to 500 pascals as wind speed increases

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

The new building joins the landmark Clyde Auditorium on the northern bank of the River Clyde within Glasgow’s former docks, and has been designed from the inside-out to ensure excellent views of the stage and high quality acoustics. The flexible arena has capacity for 12,000 seated or 13,000 with standing in the performance bowl, and includes 11 hospitality boxes, two large VIP suites and a club seating level. As well as accommodating a wide variety of concerts and stage sets, the SSE Hydro will also be configured as a sporting venue to host netball and gymnastics during Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

The seating bowl is shaped like an amphitheatre, enclosed by a lattice steel roof and wrapped in translucent ETFE cushions. The 1,400 tonne steel diagrid roof, one of Europe’s largest free-spanning roof structures, is held aloft by a circular array of angled concrete fins, which support a tilted seating bowl, designed to draw the audience close to the stage and provide the best possible viewing angles from every seat.

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

The whole building can function as a huge screen for projections, and every aspect of the state-of-the-art lighting system can be programmed, allowing performers great creative freedom to shape the venue, inside and out. Inside the seating bowl, the stage lighting rig was similarly developed withperformers in mind and evolved through discussions with production crews – weighing 260 tonnes, its size and circular form allow maximum flexibility.

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

The circulation spaces run around the perimeter of the performance bowl. Here, the façade is more transparent to draw in natural light, animating the building with the movement of people and exposing the dramatic structure that supports the tiers of seating within. The spaces are protected from solar gain by a frit pattern, applied to the ETFE cushions.

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners designed every detail, from developing the complex geometry of the roof structure to the interior signage. The practice worked with graphic designer, Per Arnoldi to devise a bold primary colour palette for the circulation spaces, and the cushioned seats were developed specifically for the project with the manufacturer.

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

Designed to reduce energy demands, the building combines natural and mechanical ventilation – fresh air is drawn into the building above the entrances, and vented at a high level. The SSE Hydro is integrated with the district-wide public transport and the surrounding landscaping provides a valuable new civic amenity – the building is set back from the river to frame a new public space between the arena and conference centre. In addition, a low concrete bank curves around the base of the arena, concealing catering and support spaces and providing an attractive green, landscaped plinth.

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

Spencer de Grey, Head of Design, Foster + Partners:

With its vast steel roof and capacity for 13,000, this is the largest performance arena that the practice has designed – operationally, it allows performers a great deal of freedom in staging events, and visually, its form helps to capture the excitement of a concert. We were delighted to have the opportunity to work with SECC once again, almost 18 years since we were first commissioned to design the Clyde Auditorium. The SSE Hydro has been a great team effort and it is fantastic to see the arena come to life for its first concert.

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

Image Courtesy © Nigel Young_Foster + Partners

Image Courtesy © Foster + Partners

Image Courtesy © Foster + Partners

Image Courtesy © Foster + Partners

Image Courtesy © Foster + Partners

Image Courtesy © Foster + Partners

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Category: Entertainment Centre

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