The Arena at Copr Bay is a world class 3,500 capacity live performance and conference venue and the centrepiece for the city wide regeneration of Swansea City Centre. With a vision to draw in over 230,000 visitors and stage 160 events a year, acts will include music, comedy, theatre, gaming and e-sports.
Ramboll was appointed by Buckingham Group in early 2019 as the delivery structural engineer bringing our experience of delivering sustainable venues and strong working relationship with Buckingham Group to the project. Taking ownership of the design from RIBA Stage 3 Ramboll developed the design, working closely with AFL Architects, with a focus on creating a new neighbourhood, flexible hospitality spaces to increase revenue through a diverse events schedule, and improving the sustainability credentials of the building.
Creating healthier and happier spaces
The Copr Bay development creates a new cultural district for Swansea with a new 1.1 acre coastal park at its heart, providing attractive green spaces, as well as facilities for outdoor events, for the local community and visitors to enjoy.
Maximising venue usage
The final structural solution includes a combination of fixed terrace seating and retractable seating allowing the auditorium space to be operated in theatre mode with seating throughout and a mix of seating and standing for music events. The design of the seating deck, roof trusses and adjacent structure allow for the addition a full height movable wall. The wall is fully concealed when not in place and provides acoustic separation in the centre of the auditorium, allowing 2 events to be held concurrently. The auditorium can accommodate 3,500 for concert mode, 2000 for theatre mode and 750 for conference mode.
Theatre boxes (loges) have been included into the design to enhance the mix of hospitality within the venue. A complex hierarchy of structure is provided without the addition of further columns. The loges are hung from a storey deep transfer truss which in turn support one of the main roof trusses. This delivers a column free area as you enter the auditorium at ground floor level with enhanced VIP facilities above.
Through our experience of designing other arena structures we were able to deliver an alternative method for supporting the high level walkways and rigging structure. This was achieved by maximising the multi-use of these items bringing an overall reduction in steel weight. Through efficient design of the concrete and steel members we reduced the embodied carbon in the structural frame between RIBA Stage 3 and construction.
A key feature of the coastal park is the digital façade of the arena with integrated LED lighting and undulating curves creating challenging geometry. Ramboll steered the design with the cladding contractor and steel fabricator to develop the complex arrangement of steelwork. The design maximised the amount of work undertaken in the fabrication shop to increase the quality of steelwork on site and minimise crane time during erection easing the pressures on programme.