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The Arena

Project Title:

The Arena

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All project descriptions are provided by SBID Awards entrants.

The design of the Arena evolved to become a free form sculpted landscape incorporating double sided seating to facilitate several parallel activities:

• A presentation theatre and discussion forum ‘in the round’ incorporating two tier seating in certain locations.

• A small bar to serve drinks during events positioned so that its operation does not distract from any presentation.

The higher backing wall of the bar shields the presenter from glare and provides a visual barrier between the bar area and the presentation space to minimise distraction.

• Perimeter seating creating a series of smaller ‘external’ meeting zones adjacent to existing windows.

A number of different geometries and fabrication techniques were explored, with sectioning the model at parallel intervals through the use of profiled timber plywood panels ultimately selected. This allowed for the creation of smooth undulating forms in warm timber tones to create a deliberate contrast to the existing commercial office environment. The resulting multi-functional space can be used for a wide variety of workplace scenarios, such as workshops, seminars and team discussions.

The material selected to realise the project were 18mm birch plywood panels, CNC cut into the relevant shapes and spaced at 38mm centres. This material had sufficient structural strength to facilitate typical lap joints thus allowing the use of standard 1200×2400 panels to create larger continuous shapes as required in areas of wider double-sided seating. It also enabled a complex sculpted form to be fabricated through the use of circular 18mm plywood spacers with standard self-drilling timber screws as fixings. Plywood edges were sanded once cut to size and finished in a matt clear varnish to ensure that the seating was protected, smooth and comfortable. The joinery was pre-fabricated in sections, facilitating easy disassembly on site to enable possible relocation in the future.

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