Swansea Arena Building, Copr Bay, Welsh Wraparound Display, Architects, Ambassador Theatre Group Project News

Swansea Arena Building News

4 March 2022

A new, multi-million pound arena clad in gold and nearly 100,000 LED lights has become the UK’s first major events venue to complete in the wake of Covid-19.

Design: ACME

Location: Copr Bay, central Swansea, South Wales, UK

Swansea Arena building, Wales by ACME

Photos © James Newton / Swansea Council

Swansea Shimmers As New Gold-clad Arena Covered In A Giant Wraparound Display

Becomes UK’s First Major New Venue To Launch In Wake Of Covid

New Swansea Arena Building Design at Copr Bay

• Iconic new arena clad in gold-coloured panels and nearly 100,000 LED lights was officially launched today

• Landmark project forms part of one of the largest urban transformations in Europe

• Delivered by Swansea Council, with Swansea Arena being leased to and operated by the Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG)

Swansea Arena building, Wales by ACME

A new multi-million pound arena in Swansea clad in shimmering gold-coloured panelling and nearly 100,000 lights has today (Friday 4 March 2022) become the UK’s first major music, performance and events venue to complete since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

The new Swansea Arena, which has been under construction since 2019, is capable of showcasing dynamic visual content – using 93,000 individual LED lights which form a giant wraparound display – and is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Swansea Arena building, Wales by ACME

The striking new arena, with capacity for 3,500 people, is at the centre of Copr Bay – a £135 million regeneration scheme in Swansea city centre which will also deliver a new 1.1-acre coastal park – the city centre’s first new park since Victorian times – as well as new public realm and a landmark public bridge. New apartments and new independent restaurants will also soon open at the scheme.

Swansea Arena building, Wales by ACME

The multi-purpose arena will host up to 200 live performances a year across comedy, theatre, music and gaming, bringing an additional 260,000 visitors a year to the city.

A star-studded programme of acts is lined up to play Swansea Arena this year, including Welsh funnyman Rob Brydon, who will take to the stage of the new venue in April for A Night of Songs and Laugher.

Swansea Arena building, Wales by ACME

Other confirmed acts and performances include Royal Blood, Alice Cooper and The Cult, Katherine Ryan, Alan Carr, Jersey Boys, John Bishop, Rob Beckett and Will Young.

Despite social distancing restrictions and numerous lockdowns, construction works have progressed at pace throughout the pandemic, allowing large elements of the scheme to complete on schedule.

Swansea Arena Building in South Wales

The mixed-use development was delivered by Swansea Council and development managed by RivingtonHark, which also provides letting strategy and advice for commercial, F&B, leisure and residential space across the scheme.

Copr Bay was designed by award-winning architecture practice ACME to reconnect the city to its marina and tackle post-WW2 overdevelopment. Having previously been annexed by a busy A Road – which was constructed following the infamous Swansea Three Nights’ Blitz in February 1941 – the new landmark bridge and coastal park have now re-linked the city to its stunning coastline.

Swansea Arena Building in South Wales

Copr Bay phase one alone is worth £17.1 million a year to the city’s economy. Even before its completion, figures show that businesses in the Swansea Bay City Region have benefited from more than £34.6m worth of work thanks to the construction of Copr Bay phase one, with the arena itself, being operated by Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), set to generate 467 full-time direct and indirect jobs in Swansea.

Swansea Arena Building in South Wales

More than £1 billion is being invested across the city to redefine Swansea as a landmark destination for both business and leisure, with tens of thousands of square feet allocated to new office space, designed to attract digital, tech and creative business to the region.

It comes after Swansea Council announced that Copr Bay phase one will be home to an ultra-fast, free public WiFi connection in partnership with Vodafone. The service will enable thousands of people to stream content at the same time from their mobile devices, in turn creating more efficient remote working opportunities from Copr Bay’s new public spaces. The partnership will also help to secure new investment for the city.

Copr Bay Swansea Arena Building South Wales

The installation of digital-ready infrastructure across Copr Bay has enabled the Council to promote the area as a ‘test bed’ and is seeing success in a number of evolving partnerships with tech companies and the Swansea University.

Now approved by the UK Government and Welsh Government, the Swansea Bay City Deal’s regional digital infrastructure programme will help Swansea Council introduce full-fibre connectivity in business parks and other areas, further enhancing its ‘Smart City’ aspirations.

Copr Bay phase one was part-funded by the Swansea Bay City Deal – an investment of up to £1.3bn in nine major programmes and projects across the Swansea Bay City Region.

Copr Bay Swansea Arena Building

Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council, commented: “The completion of Swansea Arena as well as many other features of Copr Bay phase one means our city is well on track to becoming Britain’s best and most dynamic place to visit, live in and do business.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era for Swansea, one that will be underpinned by revitalising our city centre, attracting dynamic new businesses and inward investment and, above all, improving the lives, health and wellbeing of all those who live here.

“Despite the unprecedented challenges posed by Covid-19, we have realised our vision of delivering many key features of one of Europe’s biggest and most ambitious urban transformation schemes.

Copr Bay South Wales wraparound display

“Not only will Copr Bay generate millions of pounds for the Swansea economy, it has already created thousands of new jobs, both directly and indirectly.

“Copr Bay phase one will serve as a springboard for a brighter, more prosperous future for our city, one which unleashes the full potential of public-private partnerships and shaping a better Swansea for all.”

The name ‘Copr Bay’ uses the Welsh spelling for copper in tribute to the Swansea industrial heritage, while celebrating the city’s world-famous coastline.

Spencer Winter, Projects Director at RivingtonHark, commented: “Copr Bay is a vision of what our town and city centres can look like when public and private sectors join forces.

“Most significantly, this transformation has established a new identity for Swansea. What was once dominated by tired buildings, underutilised retail space and empty industrial realm has given way to a vibrant, new mixed-use district that brings together leisure, entertainment, social housing and workspace.

“Our hope is that Copr Bay will serve as a best-in-class example of how poorly-planned districts of the past can be transformed into areas of beauty and prosperity and serve as catalysts for change.

“Working alongside Swansea Council on what will be held up as the model of the post-pandemic city centre has been an extraordinary experience for the RivingtonHark team and one that we will bring with us to help shape our future projects.”


GVA and employment figures come from the ‘Economic Impact Assessment of Swansea City Centre Regeneration Programme’ report June 2019 produced by Amion Consulting. Construction job numbers relate to net additional person-years of construction employment created.

 Copr Bay, Welsh Wraparound Display

About Copr Bay

Copr Bay is a mixed-use development, being funded by Swansea Council, located next to the LC leisure complex – Wales’ biggest indoor waterpark – the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea Marina and the beachfront. The £135 million first phase of the development includes a striking 3,500-capacity, state-of-the-art live performance area and conference centre, with 960 parking spaces, a 1.1-acre landscaped park, commercial units and a statement bridge that will significantly improve access between the city and the beach.

Copr Bay Phase One is part-funded by The Swansea Bay City Deal – an investment of up to £1.3bn in nine major programmes and projects across the Swansea Bay City Region.

About Swansea Bay City Deal

The indoor arena is one feature of the Swansea City & Waterfront Digital District project being part-funded by the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal.

The City Deal is an investment is a portfolio of projects and programmes throughout the Swansea Bay City Region, which is made up of Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea.
The City Deal is being funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector.

New Swansea Arena Building Design at Copr Bay

About RivingtonHark

RivingtonHark is one of the most active development companies focused on regenerating town centres in the UK. Within the last two years RivingtonHark is, or has been, managing projects with a value in excess of £1.25bn, working alongside local authorities, leading pension funds, global capital providers and banks on mixed-use projects. The team has a successful track record going back over 35 years. Current major projects include development managing Swansea, as well as Newbury, Liverpool, Chester, Norwich, Newcastle, Wolverhampton and Bury.

New Swansea Arena Building Design at Copr Bay

About ACME

Established in 2007, ACME is an international architecture practice based in London and Berlin. We work across scales and disciplines, from contemporary architecture and urban planning to interior and product design for private, corporate and public clients.

We bring experience and innovation to every project and build structures and buildings that are not only beautiful, but also environmentally and socially sustainable. We firmly believe in the individuality of each place and in the convergence of new materials and technologies, which are expressed in material and form. Every project begins with extensive research and an endeavour to find solutions that are inspired by the programme, location and the client brief.

2021 saw the completion of several ACME projects including REWE Green Farming, Wiesbaden; Canopy by Hilton, London City; Sächsische Aufbaubank (SAB), Leipzig; Stratford Pavilion, London; and Golda-Meir-Steg, Berlin. 2022 will see the completion of Swansea Central Phase 1 including the world-class Swansea Arena in Wales; the first phase of Folkestone Harbour & Seafront residential development, Kent and Florattica Rooftop Restaurant, London.


Swansea Arena Building images / information receuved 030322

Location: Swansea, South Wales

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Swansea, “mouth of the Tawe”, officially known as the City and County of Swansea, is a coastal city and county in Wales. It is Wales’ second largest city and the UK’s twenty-sixth largest city.

This Welsh city lies within the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Situated on the sandy Southwest Wales coast, the county area includes the Gower Peninsula and the Lliw uplands. The City and County of Swansea had a population of 239,000 in 2011, making it the second most populous local authority area in Wales after Cardiff.

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Website: Visit Swansea