First Direct Arena

Winner of Award for

Sports or Leisure Structures - 2013

Client Name

Leeds City Council


Leeds, United Kingdom

The First Direct Arena is a landmark music venue in the heart of Leeds city-centre with a capacity of 13,500.  Its unique fan-shaped seating bowl, strongly influenced by the sloping site, is key in achieving the required capacity within the limited space. The proximity of student residential accommodation made acoustics a key driver for the engineering design, whilst a striking appearance is necessary in making the arena the intended catalyst for economic growth.  The arena achieves a BREEAM score of 61%; the highest of any arena in the UK to date.

Judge's comment:

The design is tailored beautifully to the sloping site through its fan shape and is visually stunning as a result.  The roof solution in particular, with main trusses located in the air gap, is a highly-effective innovation that both reduces cost and increases acoustic insulation. 

Winners announced

Tickets for the Structural Awards 2016 

Tickets are now on sale for the awards ceremony on 11 November at The Brewery, London.

Structural Awards 2015 Winners

2015 Winners

Take a look at the winning and commended projects from 2015.