Bristol’s Mayor, George Ferguson, has announced a shortlist of five experienced design teams for the 12,000 capacity Bristol Arena, at his annual State of the City address. He also told the 1,000 strong audience at Bristol University that, subject to final negotiations and Cabinet approval, a preferred operator for the arena has been selected and is likely to be announced in December.

The announcement of the shortlisted design teams followed a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) International Design Competition that was launched in August. Over 30 teams from across the world, expressed interest in designing the cultural venue that will be located close to Bristol Temple Meads Station and is due to open towards the end of 2017. The five teams (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Grimshaw Architects LLP – Architects for the Eden Project
  • Idom Ingeniería y Consultoría – Designers of the Bilbao Arena
  • Populous – Architects for the London Olympic Stadium
  • White Arkitekter – Architects for Kiruna city plan, Sweden
  • Wilkinson Eyre – Architects for the Liverpool Arena

The multi-disciplinary teams include architects and engineers and all have experience of delivering major venues in the UK or overseas. They will now work on their design proposals for the Bristol Arena which will be submitted in January 2015. A public exhibition of all five design proposals will take place in January prior to a decision being made in March.

A report recommending a preferred and reserve operator for the arena is due to go to Cabinet in December. The operator will programme the venue, maintain and manage the facility for the duration of the 25 year lease and input into its design.

Mayor George Ferguson said:

“We are at an important milestone in the development of Bristol’s new entertainment arena. Subject to final negotiation and Cabinet consideration on 2nd December, we have selected a highly experienced arena operator, to manage and programme this major venue. I am also delighted with the level of high level interest that we have had in the RIBA design competition. We have been through a rigorous selection process to settle on a competition short list of five extremely talented design teams with a wealth of experience between them.

I am confident that the new arena will provide one of the very best experiences for audiences and major acts and that it will make a huge contribution to the regeneration of the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. This takes us a couple of major steps closer to a 2017 delivery of this much needed venue for the city region.”

Lynne Sullivan, RIBA said:

“Overall the quality of the competition submissions was extraordinarily good and we are satisfied that those chosen for the second stage of the city’s exciting journey, to deliver the heart of Bristol’s new quarter, will bring the right combination of experience and inspiration to the final selection of the Bristol Arena design team”

Colin Skellett, Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership said:

“The level of interest in the new arena is excellent, with a strong shortlist of design teams demonstrating the extent of the ambition. This important development will bring economic benefits, jobs and growth to the city region.”

The Bristol Arena is due to open towards the end 2017 and will be located in the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.