At the beginning of 2015, the international Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) held a design competition to select the team to design the Bristol Arena. This competition was won by Populous, in partnership with Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects and BuroHappold Engineering.

Populous are international arena and stadium design specialists, and designed the London Olympic Stadium as well as O2 Arenas in London, Berlin and Dublin, and the recently completed Leeds Arena.

The winning proposal was considered by the panel to have:

  • an excellent response to the operator’s requirements and acoustics;
  • good sustainability credentials;
  • a good level of detail to support their cost estimate;
  • a strong team that will bring considerable experience to the project.

The competition panel praised the winning design team for its unique innovative concept that allows for smaller capacity theatre style events, while quickly converting to larger configurations for sporting events, major conventions or exhibitions and up to 12,000 capacity performances.