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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.

Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark by 3XN

December 11th, 2017 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: 3XN

Can an arena be a good neighboor?

Large stadiums and music venues are often placed in the outskirts of cities, but not in Copenhagen. Royal Arena, a 35.000 square metre venue, has just opened in the middle of a residential area, and is designed by 3XN Architects together with HKS to be a good neighbour.

Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

  • Architects: 3XN
  • Project: Royal Arena
  • Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Photography: Adam Mørk and Rasmus Daniel Taun
  • Client: Arena CPHX P/S
  • Team: Kim Herforth Nielsen, Jan Ammundsen, Bo Boje Larsen, Peter Feltendal, Audun Opdal, Maria Tkacova, Jack Renteria, Robin Vind Christiansen, Dennis Carlsson, Andreas Herborg, Anja Pedersen, Bodil Nordstrøm, Christian Harald Hommelhoff Brink, Gry Kjær, Ida Schøning Greisen, Jakob Wojcik, Jan Park Sørensen, Jeanette Hansen, Juras Lasovsky, Laila Fyhn Feldthaus, Mads Mathias Pedersen, Marie Persson, Mikkel Vintersborg, Pernille Ulvig Sangvin, Sang Yeun Lee, Sebastian le Dantec Reinhardt, Simon Hartmann-Petersen, Stine de Bang, Sune Mogensen, Søren Nersting, Tobias Gagner, Torsten Wang, Henrik Rømer Kania
  • Size: 37 000 m2
    • Height: 35 m
    • Capacity: 16,000
    • Seating: 12,500
  • Completion: 2017

Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

One of the most anticipated cultural venues in Copenhagen, the 35,000 m2 Royal Arena, opened with four sold out concerts by Metallica. Specially designed for concerts and international level sporting events, this new venue combines two key ambitions: to create an attractive and highly flexible multi-purpose arena that can attract spectators locally as well as internationally, while ensuring that the building’s presence will be a catalyzer for growth for the entire district as well as Copenhagen. With a podium that offers different public areas for social meetings and daily activities with a warm timber façade allowing spectators to look out and the curious to look in, the arena is designed to catalyse urban life, thereby adding value and fitting into the surrounding neighbourhood.

Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

The Good Neighbour

Without a doubt, a building of this size affects the community next to it. Copenhagen’s new international arena is not, like a traditional arena, located on the outskirts of the city. It sits amidst a dense residential urban area with housing and businesses. As ’the good neighbour,’ therefore, its design needs to encourage active interaction and those characteristic values which make a neighbourhood enjoyable.

Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

The Royal Arena is designed to open onto the city and to interact with the plazas and walkways of the surrounding neighborhood by offering shapes and facilities that will catalyze activities, social encounters and stay, Image Courtesy © Rasmus Daniel Taun

“Our most important question before starting out the Royal Arena project was: How do we design the good neighbour for this area?” tells Kim Herfoth Nielsen, Founder and Creative Director at 3XN Architects.

Architecturally the design of the Arena is divided into a plinth and a top. The top has a semi-transparent facade, where wooden fins in a warm golden color, waves on the building in a circular motion, Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

The arena’s light and elegant design is kept intact via innovative solutions which allow all technical installations such as cameras, speakers and lights, to be integrated into the facade, rather than “stuck” on to it, like known from the majority of arenas before, Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

From the beginning, therefore, it was central to 3XN to create an intimate symbiosis between the building and the community, activating its surroundings and offering new opportunities for those who live and work adjacent to the building. All its facets, the arena is designed to be a ‘good neighbour’. Central was the idea of ‘putting people first’.

A radical rethinking of the Arena typology was, therefore, inevitable.

Image Courtesy © Rasmus Daniel Taun

Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

A Scandinavian take on the typology 

Central to the design of the Royal Arena is a unique podium acting as a link to the adjoining neighbourhood. This feature is designed to efficiently absorb the movement of spectators through a variety of small plazas, pockets and gathering areas which have been carved from the podium’s perimeter. It simultaneously encourages the community to embrace the variety of public spaces, staircase, and adjacencies which promote activity and liveliness when the building is not in use.

Extensive use of glass in the facade lets plenty of light into the lounge areas, reducing the need for electric lighting to lower operational costs and carbon footprint, Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

“Since the arena is a local building, it was important to us to design it as an aesthetic contribution to the area, and not just a massive concrete block like other stadiums tend to be. Design wise, Royal Arena is easy to recognize with the curvy wooden fins and the minimalistic Nordic expression and fits the nearby area,” Kim Herfort Nielsen explains.

Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

To achieve optimal flow at all scales of events, 3XN designed the building with a single podium which efficiently absorbs the movement of spectators through a variety of small plazas, pockets and gathering areas which have been carved from the podium’s perimeter. Visitors enter the podium via a wide staircase and from the podium enter the building via a large main entrance or, in case of large audience sizes, are distributed smoothly along the facade between four different entries. The wavelike movements lift up slightly above the natural entry points of the Arena making way-finding easy and logical.

Inside the bowl itself, graceful curves and a horseshoe-shaped configuration echo the Nordic tradition of the exterior façade with elegant, simple vertical paneling along the wall and the balconies, Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

The flexibility of the design allows for the widest range of events from sporting events to world class concerts; and possible configurations that is therefore almost infinite and able to, Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

From Metalica to Celine Dion – from Icehockey to Cirque du Soleil

The bowl contains a variety of design features to improve performance experience, such as angled walls to improve sightlines, a flat ceiling, acoustic walls, vomitories to facilitate access and a stage set up which is first rate. With a 22 meter height around the stage, it is the focus point no matter where one isseated. The flexibility of the design allows for the widest range of events; and possible configurations that is therefore almost infinite.

Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

As concerts will make up a large proportion of events at the Royal Arena, the end stage configuration is very important.

The Arena is also extremely flexible. It allows for a comprehensive range of staging options with a 22 meter height surrounding the stage. In addition, the symmetrical block layout, allows seating to be built up, reduced, expanded or sectioned off in the most appropriate ways for each concert, but also highly capable of adapting to quick operational changes and requirements based on ticket sales. The building has an open ground foor and a public plateau at the first floor level. Most of the spectators are seated on three sides of the stage/track/court, with the option to accommodate further visitors on the fourth side for sporting events and special cultural events. In concert-mode, the arena floor can be retracted.

The Royal Arena is nominated for sports building of the year at this years World Architecture Festival in Berlin.

Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

Metalica opened the Royal Arena with four sold out concerts, Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

For the interior 3XN chose subtle and dark colours to create an intimate night club like atmosphere during performances, Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

Image Courtesy © Adam Mørk

Image Courtesy © 3XN

Image Courtesy © 3XN

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Categories: Community Centre, Concert hall, Cultural Center, entertainment venue, Event space, public spaces, Stadium

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