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Vienna opens design competition for new arena

The City of Vienna has launched a design competition to secure a partner to help develop what it hopes will be one of Europe’s leading arenas.

The Wien Holding-Arena project is envisioned to become the long-term successor to the Austrian capital’s Wiener Stadthalle. The new arena, with a capacity of around 20,000, will be built in Neu Marx, a district of Vienna that has developed over the past 15 years with a focus on the media, cultural and creative industries.

Vienna is seeking a multi-functional arena that will cater to sports events, concerts and wider entertainment events. With a reported price tag of €250m (£211.7m/$275.3m), the arena project is being led by the Wien Holding company with a two-stage competition now open to architecture companies.

The Europe-wide competition’s initial stage will run through to May, at which point a jury will assess the submissions with a view to choosing a shortlist of 10 designs. Those chosen will then be asked to work on their designs in the second stage with the winners to be announced in the autumn. The jury will choose three winners, with negotiations to take place with the companies involved. If local authorities cannot strike a final agreement with the first-place company, they will then move on to the second-place firm.

“With the Wien Holding-Arena, we are giving a big boost to the development of this area (of Vienna),” said City Councillor Peter Hanke (left of picture). “The new arena will be at the heart of Neu Marx. We invite the best architectural firms, from Austria and internationally, to contribute their ideas. We are looking for the best designs for a technically and ecologically up-to-date multifunctional arena that will be one of the top destinations in Europe.

“This means that the new arena is also an essential part of Vienna’s future strategies – Smart City Wien 2050, Digital Agenda Wien 2025, Wien 2030 Economy & Innovation and the Visitor Economy Strategy 2025.

“We assume that with the new Wien Holding-Arena, and further developments for complementary uses in the area, this will trigger a strong surge in investment in the entire urban development area of ​​Neu Marx, which will correspond to around another billion euros over the next 10 years.”

Wien Holding-Arena CEO, Kurt Gollowitzer (pictured right), stated that companies interested in submitting proposals will have to meet high demands. “We want an arena that makes every visit an experience and at the same time offers optimal production conditions for the organisers,” he said.

“This is because the success of an arena largely depends on its quality of experience, the functionality and flexibility of the building and its (technical) equipment, as well as the economic efficiency in operation.

“In addition, the new arena will need to meet the highest security standards, accessibility criteria and new digital technologies. And we also want to set an example in terms of sustainability… especially with regard to energy efficiency and climate-related aspects. We want to realise all of this in a building with an attractive architectural quality.”

The Wiener Stadthalle was completed in 1958, with its main hall currently Austria’s largest indoor arena with a seating capacity of just over 16,000. The Stadthalle will continue to operate unchanged until the new arena opens, with local authorities planning to retain it following delivery of Wien Holding-Arena.

To this end, the City of Vienna is currently assessing how the Stadthalle will be adapted, and is inviting the views of citizens with regards any potential redevelopment. The first results from this process are expected to be announced in the first quarter of 2020.

Image: Stadt Wien