Design selected, deadline set for Copenhagen arena

Planned city arena will be given Nordic identity, sustainable design

The face of Copenhagen’s new arena was unveiled last week when the designers of the 15,000-seat facility in the Ørestad district were selected. At the same time, operators announced that construction was expected to begin in mid-2013 and the arena would open by 2015.

The final decision to build the arena was announced in September last year, and more than forty teams competed to have their design chosen. The winning team, made up of Danish architecture firm 3XN, HKS Architects, Arup, ME Engineers and Planit, was unveiled last week. 

The 35,000 square-metre arena will have a capacity of 12,500 people for sporting events, and up to 15,000 people for concerts. The design features adjustable interiors to accommodate various events while providing spectators with optimal views. 

“Our ambition was to create an arena that besides hosting a range of amazing sporting and musical events would also be a catalyst for various local activities for the enjoyment of residents and visitors,” said Kim Herforth Nielsen, the creative director for 3XN.

Its design is divided into a plinth, or platform, and a top. The plinth contains various spaces that can be used for recreational purposes. The top is semi-transparent, and features terracotta fins that surround the building in a wave-like pattern. Terracotta has been used in Denmark throughout history. 

The contest jury described the winning design as having a “distinct Nordic identity”, and BREEAM, which establishes global standards for sustainable design, gave it a “very good” ranking.

The surrounding areas will be used for recreational activities. It is hoped that the Copenhagen Arena, with a public foyer that can be used for markets and exhibitions, will also become a cultural centre. 

Realdania, a property investment foundation, and the city council will each provide 325 million kroner to fund construction. 

The Elite Facility Committee and National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark are each expected to make construction and operating grants available. Live Nation, an American entertainment company and the arena’s operator, will also help with financing the arena.  

The decision to build the arena is part of the City Council’s 2007 decision to pursue initiatives that would give Copenhagen the best urban environment of all the world’s capitals by 2015.