Bristol Arena

Bristol is built on the river, by the river, and with the river. The city and its history is interlinked with the extraordinarily powerful tides of the Bristol Channel. Twice a day the strong and rapid currents push water many kilometers up the River Avon, and then back out again. Effectively, it is a waterway that flows in both directions. Bristol as we know it was formed by harnessing this force of nature. And the new Bristol Arena is placed in the midst of these conditions. As it curves around it to the north and east side, the New Cut of the River Avon frames the building’s site on two sides.

The art concept for the new Bristol Arena proposes to



design the 300 meter circular arena facade so it gives the visual illusion of depth and movement. You perceive it at any given time, and regardless of which side of the building you see. It will give the impression of a light-emitting core floating inside a dark solid, slowly rotating around its own axis.

This motion follows the direction, speed and intensity of the fluctuating tidal currents of River Avon, which passes by the site. The rotation moves clockwise as the tide rises, slowing down to a halt as it reaches high tide, and then reversing to a counter-clockwise motion as the water flows back out at ebb tide.


Bristol Arena



2015 -



Bristol, United Kingdom



Direct commission. Collaboration with building archtects  (Populos and FCB Studios) to integrate an art concept into the building



In Jonas Dahlberg Studio: Johanna Fager (Architect), Björn Ehrlemark (Researcher), Carin Kallenberg (Researcher)



Populous team with Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios and  BuroHappold Engineers



Bristol City Council

The inner core movement reflects the tide coming in.

When the water reaches high tide the movement shifts to a resting pulse.

Then  move again in the opposite direction as the tides shift and going out.