Launch of international competition to design a new arena for Bristol

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Competitions and Bristol City Council are delighted to announce the launch of an international competition to design a new arena for Bristol.

The Bristol Arena project is a large indoor multipurpose arena, to be located on the former diesel depot site close to Temple Meads railway station in central Bristol.  It is anticipated that the Arena will open in the summer of 2017.

Multi-disciplinary teams will have  the opportunity to design the 12,000 capacity entertainment arena. The successful experienced design team will have architectural, structural and building engineering capabilities as well as experience within the performance venue field and significant knowledge of the creation and development of urban spaces. 

George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol said: “The Bristol Arena is key to the city region's future and will act as a major catalyst to the development of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. We have to grasp the opportunity to design a building that not only works really effectively but is an inspiring place that enriches this new quarter of the city.

“I want the Bristol Arena to become the arena of choice for performers, as well as offering an excellent visitor experience. As an architect I recognise that the design of the building is critical in achieving this. RIBA Competitions has helped to deliver some of the most outstanding buildings around the UK and is well placed to help us to secure the best possible design team.” 

Colin Skellett, Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership said: "The new arena is a demonstration of confidence and an essential asset for a major city region.  It will play a key role in attracting future investment and accelerating development within the Temple Quarter enterprise zone.  Getting the design right is really important: we need an arena that fits with its environment, inspires its visitors and becomes an iconic image for the city region."

 Among the iconic buildings resulting from previous RIBA Competitions are the Welsh National Assembly's Senedd in Cardiff, The Hepworth Wakefield gallery in Wakefield and Sage Gateshead, the music venue on Gateshead’s quayside.

 Expressions of Interest are invited from suitably qualified design teams worldwide.  A shortlist of five teams will then be selected to participate in the design phase of the competition. The arena project budget is approximately £90 million.

For further details and to enter please visit where you can view the preliminary brief, PQQ and instructions for applying.  The closing date for receiving completed applications is Thursday 18 September 2014.


- Ends –


 Notes to Editors:

Accompanying pictures are available for download via the link at the end of this release.  They are:

  • Bristol Arena aerial; view and nightview: Artists impressions of the arena and Arena Island. Credit: Bristol City Council.

  • Senedd 01 and 02: The Welsh Assembly Senedd building in Cardiff, the result of a RIBA Competition. Credit: Welsh Assembly.

  • Sage Gateshead 01 and 02: Sage Gateshead, the music venue on Gateshead’s quayside, another result of a RIBA Competition. Credit: Mark Savage


RIBA Competitions

Please ensure RIBA Competitions is credited when mentioning the above competition.  RIBA Competitions delivers variety, inspiration and value through expertly run competitive selection processes.  Buildings designed through the RIBA Competitions process include the National Assembly of Wales in Cardiff, the Hepworth, Wakefield and the Sage, music and arts centre in Gateshead.

For further details visit


Arena Island

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) currently own the Arena Island site and has recently appointed London-based Allies and Morrison to shape the creative vision for the site.

When complete, the project will show how lively streets, public spaces and large and small buildings can be laid out around the arena to form a new creative hub for the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.


Bristol Arena timetable:

  • February  2015 - Successful design team appointed

  • 2015-2016 - Planning applications submitted

  • Early  2016 - Start on site

  • Summer 2017 – Arena opens


Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone

Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone is one of the largest urban regeneration projects in the UK. It covers 70 hectares of land in the centre of Bristol and includes Temple Meads railway station, the surrounding offices at Temple Gate and Temple Studios, creative office space at Paintworks and  the former diesel depot site where the planned Bristol Arena development is set to be located.

 The 25 year ambition for the project is to regenerate the area and create a new, superbly connected entry to Bristol and a hub for creative, high-technology, specialist engineering and low-carbon companies.


 Link to Photos

Posted on Friday 8th August 2014