first direct Arena
Proud winner of the Queen's Award for Enterprise 2015

first direct Arena

  • Sector / Stadia & Leisure
  • Architect / Populous led design team
  • Main Contractor / BAM Construction
  • Location / Leeds, Yorkshire
  • Products / Ancillaries, Cladding, Glazing, Roofing
  • Value / £7.8m
  • Completed / May 2013

As Lakesmere’s first fully BIM integrated contract to date, the successful delivery of the first direct Arena in Leeds has been an interesting learning curve for the specialist contractor who was responsible for the installation of the venue’s mesmerizing external facade as well as various roofing packages including the main roof itself. From understanding BIM methodology to value engineering and acoustic regulations, Lakesmere’s performance has helped to create one of Yorkshire’s most iconic buildings and the UK’s first purpose-built ‘fan shaped’ arenas, which is operated by SMG Europe and officially opened its doors in September 2013.

The striking new first direct Arena boasts a unique ‘honeycombed’ external facade that has been based on a mathematical diagram to create a pattern of varying cellular shapes which are further complemented by glazed panels and the use of coloured lights. Creating such an unusual facade was no easy feat and Lakesmere worked closely with main contractor BAM Construction to devise a specification that would satisfy the vision of the extensive design team headed up by architects Populous while also providing a practical and economical solution. The Lakesmere team therefore suggested the use of a built-up cladding system featuring aluminium shingles and perforated rainscreen cladding, which come to life through the use of kaleidoscopic lighting.

Another part of Lakesmere’s package was the creation of the Arena’s feature flashings, soffits and complex gutter system. Here Lakesmere’s existing design expertise was further enhanced by the team’s ever-growing competence in the use of BIM methodology and software. Working closely with BAM Construction at every stage of the contract, the bespoke ancillaries were first developed through the use of 3D design software before being fed into the main contractor’s BIM model to check the accuracy and positing of each of the individual elements.

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