First Direct Arena

CHALLENGE. Leeds Arena will be a multi-purpose facility capable of seating 12,500 people. The varying activities and occupancy levels require a flexible design which can be easily operated to meet the changing requirements of a diverse event schedule. The design intention is to create a rewarding experience for spectators & participants – maximising revenue generating potential, while achieving a strong identity, sense of fun and celebration of the facility.

INNOVATIONUsers will be much closer to the action in the theatre style arena, with the rear seats being approximately 70m from the event focal point. The tighter spatial configuration allows opportunities to control the atmosphere and acoustics of the performance. The intention is to optimise the spectator comfort, convenience, safety and security. The arena also has 24 hospitality boxes, several restaurants that will operate throughout the week, and a flexible entrance area that can be used as a winter garden. The building will incorporate the latest thinking in terms of sustainability and intends to gain a BREEAM Very good – making it the UK most sustainable venue.

IMPACTAn arena has been long requested by residents in Leeds. The venue is located in the city centre and will be the focal point of the regeneration of the city quarter. Part of the development includes a new public space which will form the primary entrance to the arena.
Leeds arena will be opening in the summer of 2013 with a Bruce Springsteen concert, followed by an opening season featuring Elton John, the Kaiser Chiefs and Micky Flanagan.


Project Type


Claypit Lane, Leeds LS2, United Kingdom (GB)

Related links


  • Populous
  • Leeds City Council
  • Various contributors