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First Direct Arena, Leeds

The concept for Leeds arena was to provide a landmark venue in the centre of the city. The arena draws on the heritage of the city and its musical history to provide a focal point for the city and the region.

The venue has been designed for performance entertainment and is configured in a “super theatre” layout with a large fan of seating looking into the stage. This configuration has been optimised to reduce the distance between the audience and the performer and therefore to increase the intimacy of the venue. The aim is for everyone to feel involved and therefore to increase intimacy of the venue. The aim is for everyone to feel involved in the show.

The configuration also offers the advantage of allowing the volume of the arena bowl to be minimised, this in turn reduces the reverberation within the space allowing the venue to accommodate high impact amplified music with clarity and envelopment.



CAPACITY: 15,500

Vanguardia’s role on Leeds Arena provided end-user experience and technical expertise. Our experience with numerous bands and promoters enabled us to bring specific knowledge of the design of the arena.

The lower tier of seating can be removed to allow for an increased floor area which is accessed from the main entrance foyer to provide a natural flow from the external to the internal of the building.

The city centre site is surrounded by high rise residential and business accommodation. The environmental impact of the arena has been carefully studied and the envelope of the building has been designed to allow for high impact shows to happen inside the arena whilst nearby residents are undisturbed.

The venue represents a focused response to the city’s desire for a modern landmark music venue.


Architectural Acoustics

Project Team


Leeds City Council

Want to know more?

Jim Griffiths

T: +44(0) 7785 243904