A wood-clad arena is rising in Copenhagen

The design of this 377,000-sf building makes concessions to the residential community that surrounds it.

October 12, 2016 |

The 377,000-sf Royal Arena in Copenhagen will include plazas that residents of the surrounding neighborhood can take advantage of. Image: Adam Mørk, Courtesy of 3XN Architects


The new Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark, which is scheduled to open early next year, aspires to integrate seamlessly into the largely residential neighborhood of Ørestad (which sits between City Hall and Copenhagen Airport) through design refinements that bring this massive—35,000-sm (377,000-sf)—multipurpose building to a human scale.

“The project looks both inward and out,” says Jan Ammundsen, Senior Partner with 3XN Architects, the project’s designer. That balance will be achieved by the combination of two primary elements: a plinth that absorbs the movement of spectators through a variety of small plazas, pockets, stairs and gathering areas carved from the plinth’s perimeter; and the “bowl” inside whose design prioritizes clear sight lines and wayfinding, service, and smoother visitor circulation.

The building’s design also addresses the “passive user” who may not even enter the arena, with four smaller public squares around the arena, which establish inviting areas where locals can socialize, play sports, or relax.

Ørestad is accessible by car, metro, and trains, and the arena will be situated at the heart of a new urban district that will include housing, offices, and an ice rink. Local planning also allows for a new primary and lower secondary school with sports facilities.

The oval-shaped arena, which can accommodate up to 16,000 people, features a semi-transparent glass façade system topped with wooden fins that are up to 35 meters long. The façade that allows natural light to pour in is coupled with warm materials to make a strong connection with the plinth.

The design also protects the surrounding area from noise pollution. A 3D-model was used to determine the typical sound pressure level for concerts held in the arena. By doing so, the agreed noise limits can be determined and the optimal sound insulation performance level of each part of the facade and roof can be calculated.

The Building Team on this project includes HKS (arena specialist), ARUP and ME Engineers (engineering), and Planit-IE (landscape architect). Other consultants that worked with Arena CPHX—a company that was formed to oversee construction of the arena—include Davis Langdon (an AECOM company), and COWI as the project manager.

The building is owned by Realdania and the Municipality of Copenhagen, which each kicked in 325 million Danish Krone (US$48.2 million) for this project. A committee under the Danish Ministry of Culture also made a conditional contribution of 15 million DKK.

Live Nation will operate the arena, which will open on February 3 with a performance by the rock group Metallica, whose drummer, Lars Ulrich, is Danish.


Wooden fins up to 35 meters long form the cladding over the semi-transparent exterior of the Royal Arena. Image: Adam Mørk, Courtesy of 3XN Architects.

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