In the urban history of cities and their rivers, u shaped meanders always attracted core civic development. The placement of a new civic building, in the form of an arena, addressing the 90 degree River Lee meander, is a natural step within the Brewery Quarter masterplan. This gesture, combined with excellent new public realm along the quay and the linking bridge, give the building a resounding presence. Filling a well publicised need for a large scale entertainment venue for the Munster region on a prominent site, it demands to be treated as a civic building architecturally. This is a ‘state of the art’ conference, entertainment and exhibition venue (with a capacity for 6000 people) and stems from detailed and specific brief evolved from an in-depth analysis of flexible arena buildings, adapted by Live Nation, the proposed operator, for the Irish market
The 3 main foyer spaces are located off the river side walk amenity space, which give purposeful use to the amenity space as a natural expanse for crowd movements and an intense activity to this public space that will add a new vibrancy and energy to the immediate area. At ground level concessions are located to the rear of the performance space while at higher levels they are accessed through vomitoria directly off the main space and will be able to overlook the meander in the river in a lightweight glass box which will allow un-impinged views from East to West of the river corridor, Elizabeth Fort, the new bridge and St Finbarr’s Cathedral.
The internal bowl is a classical arena shape and cleverly creates a most intimate interaction between audience and performer. It is designed to avail of flexible seating which can be adapted to suit all scales and types of performance layouts, from ‘in the round’ boxing type events , ‘thrust stage’ performances to the various seated and mixed standing/ seated modes of a modern entertainment and an exhibition venue.