by Jerry ElengicalMar 22, 2022
Merging his signature angular sharpness manifested here in cosmetic projections, with a bulbous form typical of stadia, Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind has completed the Nokia Arena, the first multipurpose arena of its kind in Tampere, Finland. Operating on a near urbanic scale, Libeskind’s architectural intervention covers almost one-fifth of a massive mixed-use development, commissioned to enliven the city’s urban fabric.
Apart from the arena itself, designed as a multi-purpose ice hockey stadium, the complex comprises a 273 room hotel and five mixed-use blocks topped by five residential towers. With the intention of an urban renewal, the development - a dynamic new live-work-play complex - creates a connection between its eastern and western parts, between the historic city and its 20th century extension.
The city's extensive railway network plays an important part in positioning the project geographically as well as ideologically. The Nokia Arena sits atop Tampere’s railway tracks in the heart of the city, while the mixed-use development finds itself at the convergence of several axial train lines in the city, giving it the outlook of a transit oriented development. The intent of the dynamic urban nexus, along with the mixed-use development is to bring Tampere closer to the epitome of a thriving European city, and the arena is only the second building to be converted in the sizeable complex.
Easily the most distinctive structure in the development, mostly for the Libeskind-hand lent to the structure, the arena has the capacity to accommodate over 17,000 fans for matches. Filling out the mixed-use building’s pivotal function as a hub for diverse urban activities, the arena’s deck houses a casino, bars, and a premium restaurant, along with three saunas for patrons at the roof level. Out of the total 82,000 m² of multipurpose program area, these amenities occupy roughly 11,600 m², while the arena itself is built over 64,500 m², along with 5800 m² for the practice hall.
Clearly dismissing the form-follows-function notion, the expansive spatial program of the arena is accommodated in an oblate, oval plan, with the building acquiring a cylindrical form by simple extrusion. While the form may be missing, or be entirely atypical of Libeskind’s signature style of shard-like extrusions upon a skeletal structure, the stadium design and its treatment of its facial elements offer a callback value to LIbeskind’s stamp. The simple, circular curves are accentuated by a series of ascending, loped bands formed in metal screen. In fact, a generous use of metal to accentuate that pointiness at the ends of the swirls is much more like home for Libeskind.
The scale of the structure itself plays a major role in the final aesthetic outlook of the arena. As a concerted effort to break the mass of the cylindrical facia, Studio Libeskind uses a varied cladding palette to break monotony. While the basal cladding of the structure’s primary envelope comprises black metal and black washed concrete panels, a screen of anodised aluminium slats in three neutral shades wraps the facade design of the arena as a secondary skin. While the bottom band is the most densely packed and the middle band stands out by virtue of its golden brown hue, the top most band is particularly interesting for its diagonal placement of slats, adding a layer of dynamism to the swirling facade.
"The Nokia Arena creates a new landmark for Tampere with an iconic, yet contextual design that evokes the spirit of the Finnish people," states architect Daniel Libeskind in an official release. "The arena serves as an anchor of the surrounding development and will create a vital connection within the city and the country with its proximity to the railway tracks, which previously separated this neighbourhood from the city. The dynamic shape of the building has enhanced the bands of metal slat screens that wrap the building in spiral movements," adds Libeskind.