The Olympic Handball Arena, otherwise known as The Copper Box, is one of only four permanent venues in the Olympic Park and the third largest indoor arena in London. During the 2012 Games it accommodated up to 7,500 spectators and hosted three events – the handball tournament, the fencing element of the modern pentathlon and the Paralympic goalball competition.
As the venue’s purpose will change in legacy mode, the space has been designed to be fully adaptable. Post-games, the building will host local, national and international sporting events and concerts, but will also operate day-to-day as a community leisure and training facility covering a wide range of amateur and professional indoor sports including basketball, badminton, boxing, martial arts, netball, wheelchair rugby and volleyball. A flexible system of retractable seating allows the internal arena to be reconfigured for specific events and capacity requirements up to a maximum of 6,000 seats; the system is electronically activated, enabling the configuration to change easily and quickly with minimal disruption.
The form of the arena is a simple structural box housing the 2,750m2 field of play which is surrounded by a vibrant, multi-coloured interior. Visitors enter the arena via a glazed concourse level that encircles the building, offering views of the activity taking place within and illuminating the venue at night.
The facade is clad in 3,000m2 of sustainably-sourced copper, combining efficiency and performance with a distinctive appearance which will develop a rich natural patina as it ages. 88 light-pipes are incorporated in the roof, drawing natural light into the venue with the aim of achieving annual energy savings of up to 40 per cent. A rainwater harvesting system will collect water from the roof, dramatically reducing usage.
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