Large stadiums and music venues are often situated on the outskirts of cities, but not in Copenhagen. Royal Arena, a 35 000 square metre venue, has just opened in the middle of a residential area, and was designed by 3XN Architects to be a good neighbour.
“Our most important question before starting out the Royal Arena project was: How do we design the venue as a good neighbour for this area?” tells Jan Ammundsen, Senior Partner and Head of Design at 3XN Architects.
Designing an arena that can house anything from rock bands, like Metallica, to major sport events, such as the ice hockey world championships, is one thing, but doing it in the centre of a new residential area with thousands of neighbours is a challenge Danish architect studio 3XN Architects couldn’t resist.
Whereas many entertainment venues are situated on the outskirts of larger cities, the Copenhagen Royal Arena is located in the middle of a growing housing area, so Jan Ammundsen’s question was crucial in the genesis of the new arena.
“When designing for the city, you should take the immediate environment into consideration,” says Jan Ammundsen.
The way 3XN Architects solved this urban riddle was by designing an outgoing arena, which embraces the city and interacts with the surrounding neighbourhood. It does this by incorporating open plazas, an accessible plinth and walkways around the building, all of which contribute to making the arena available for the neighbours, even outside of the usual opening hours.
“Since the arena is a local building, it was important for us to design it as an aesthetic contribution to the area, and not just as a massive concrete block like many other stadiums tend to be. Design-wise, Royal Arena is easy to recognize with its curvy wooden fins and minimalistic Nordic expression and it fits the nearby area,” Jan Ammundsen explains.
On the outside, the arena stands out with its wavy feel and wooden surface, while on the inside, it stands out in a whole other way.
“Even though it’s a multifunctional building that is going to be used for different kinds of events, we focused on designing it as a music venue as opposed to an all-in-one arena. Inside, everything is black or dark – the ceiling, the seats, everything – and there’s no visible pipes or cables hanging above your head. This gives the arena a nightclub feeling, which you don’t find in many other similar buildings,” tells Jan Ammundsen.
3XN Architects ethos is to let their architecture take its identity through its function. This can be seen in the Danish National Aquarium – the Blue Planet – which is inspired by whirl streams and now also in Royal Arena, where the intimate club-feeling rules. And to Jan Ammundsen, it’s essential to be aware of the purpose of the project.
“We have taken all the possible scenarios and events into consideration for this place, and thus designed it to support all kinds of cultural events. But most of all, the Royal Arena is primarily a music venue, where people come to have a good time and to enjoy a night out, so the design should mirror this more than anything else,” Jan Ammundsen ends.