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Friday, September 27, 2013

SSE Hydro -The New Beacon

By Team IAnD
Photography: Nigel Young; Courtesy Foster+Partners & SSE Hydro


The SSE Hydro, at Scotland by Foster+Partners
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SSE Hydro, Scotland’s largest purpose-built public event arena, will open to the public with a concert by Rod Stewart on 30 September...

With entertainment visiting newer dimensions, it is only appropriate that it is hosted in tandem with state-of-the-art facilities that foster its purpose. Scotland gets a huge building that can accommodate an audience of up to 12,000 people seated in hospitality boxes, VIP suits and club seats and another 1000 standing! 

The SSE Hydro, at Scotland by Foster+Partners
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The new building joins the landmark Clyde Auditorium on the northern bank of the River Clyde within Glasgow’s former docks, and has been designed by Foster+Partners  and Arup from the inside-out to ensure excellent views of the stage and high quality acoustics. As well as accommodating a wide variety of concerts and stage sets, the SSE Hydro will also be configured as a sporting venue to host netball and gymnastics during Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The SSE Hydro, at Scotland by Foster+Partners
.

The SSE Hydro, at Scotland by Foster+Partners
.

Said to be one of Europe’s largest free-spanning roof structures, its 1,400 tonne steel diagrid roof of 120 metres (large enough to encompass Glasgow's Queen Street railway station), encloses seating bowl-shaped like an amphitheatre, enclosed by a lattice steel roof, wrapped in translucent ETFE cushions. The roof is held aloft by a circular array of angled concrete fins, which support the tilted seating bowl, designed to draw the audience close to the stage and provide the best possible viewing angles from every seat.
 
The SSE Hydro, at Scotland by Foster+Partners
.

The SSE Hydro, at Scotland by Foster+Partners
.

Externally, the arena is wrapped in lightweight translucent panels taking the excitement of the concert to the city – the whole building can be illuminated to glow as a beacon of colour on the waterfront. The whole building can function as a huge screen for projections, and every aspect of the state-of-the-art lighting system can be programmed, allowing performers great creative freedom to shape the venue, inside and out. Inside the seating bowl, the stage lighting rig was similarly developed with performers in mind and evolved through discussions with production crews – weighing 260 tonnes, its size and circular form allow maximum flexibility.

The circulation spaces run around the perimeter of the performance bowl. Here, the façade is more transparent to draw in natural light, animating the building with the movement of people and exposing the dramatic structure that supports the tiers of seating within. The spaces are protected from solar gain by a frit pattern, applied to the ETFE cushions.

The SSE Hydro, at Scotland by Foster+Partners
.

From developing the complex geometry of the roof structure to the interior signage, Foster + Partners have worked with graphic designer, Per Arnoldi to devise a bold primary colour palette for the circulation spaces, and the cushioned seats were developed specifically for the project with the manufacturer. The building is designed to reduce energy demands and provides a valuable new civic amenity by being set back from the river to frame a new public space between the arena and conference centre. In addition, a low concrete bank curves around the base of the arena, concealing catering and support spaces and providing an attractive green, landscaped plinth.



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