Council gives go-ahead for Populous-designed climate-neutral event arena

Global architectural design firm Populous has been chosen as the architect for a new multi-use, climate-neutral, 20,000-capacity event arena in Munich, following Council approval for the project. 

Last night, Wednesday 6th April, Freising City Council agreed in principle to give the plans the green light, which will see Bavaria-based SWMUNICH Real Estate GmbH (SWMUNICH) plan, build and operate a world-class multi-use concert and convention centre, backed by more than 300 million euros of private sector investment. 

Populous’ winning design was selected after a multi-stage architecture competition for which the jury was chaired by Professor Markus Allmann. It draws upon Bavarian heritage and character to create an eye-catching concept for the new arena, with the support structure skilfully paying homage to the lozenge shape used in the Bavarian state flag. This instantly and clearly associates the arena with the south of Germany and creates a high recognition factor.

The arena’s structure means that even from a distance, visitors can see inside the venue and get a taste of the entertainment that awaits them.

The interior design takes into account the ever-increasing demands of artists in terms of technology, stage shows and productions. Countless details are tailored to satisfy the needs of artists, organisers and visitors, and to provide incomparable concert and live experiences. 

The seating is arranged in a horseshoe shape (270 degrees), clearly placing the focus on the multifunctional stage. The combination of steeply raked seating, state-of-the-art technology and the expertise of acoustic specialists who have worked on opera houses and symphony halls will result in world-class experiences at concerts and live events. 

The arena will be located in an entirely new green space next to LabCampus, the technology and innovation centre at Munich Airport. As there is currently no comparable venue in the metropolitan area of Munich, it will add to the cultural offering of the region, and boost tourism and the local economy. Deloitte, the leading auditing firm, has estimated the gross added value for Freising and the region to be around 285 million euros per year. 

New benchmark

The arena ( will also fully meet the requirements of concerts and live entertainment events. SWMUNICH is pursuing a concept that will set new quality benchmarks for external architecture and interior design (acoustics, sightlines, equipment and hospitality), as well as the important aspects of sustainability, transportation and the environment. 

Populous is a Presenting Partner Sponsor for the 2022 edition of ALSD International, being hosted at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, another venue designed by the global architectural giant, this September 19-20th.

In a first for Germany, the new event arena will be climate-neutral thanks to lifecycle-based planning to reduce the carbon footprint during construction and climate-positive management of the operating phase. Several thousand solar panels on the roof of the arena and around the site, coupled with the potential for geothermal energy and district heating, will ensure that the energy for operating the arena can be generated and supplied on site. 

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals provide the framework for the arena’s sustainability and climate strategy, and it will be certified according to an internationally recognised sustainability system, so that achievement of the targets can be objectively evaluated and transparently measured.

Lorenz Schmid, Director of SWMUNICH, said:

We see the decision by the city council as both an incentive and an obligation because we will be building and operating Germany’s first climate-neutral event arena, for the benefit of the entire region. The new arena will put Munich in the Champions League of indoor concert venues.

Gert Waltenbauer, Director of SWMUNICH, said: 

Construction and operation of Germany’s most sustainable concert arena will provide a significant cultural and economic boost for the region and make it even more attractive to tourists. The arena will help to make the Munich metropolitan region and the state of Bavaria future-proof and internationally competitive in the event sector. Financing for the project is safeguarded for the long term with the involvement of the KGAL Group, a leading, independent investment and asset manager.

Declan Sharkey, Lead Architect for the project and Senior Principal at Populous, said:

The design for MUCcc Arena places people at its heart, delivering a unique and immersive visitor experience, as well as showcasing the very latest in sustainable design methods. The project will create a new cultural centre for Munich and the wider Bavarian region to rival the best live entertainment venues in the world.

Christopher Lee, Managing Director – EMEA, Populous, said:

Our mission at Populous is to design the places where people love to be together. And this is exactly what we are doing with the MUCcc project for Freising, the metropolitan area and all of Bavaria. We will create a world-class venue, which people will enjoy returning to again and again.

Sin-Jae Yoo, Associate Principal at Populous, said:

Our design aims to create a unique destination – compact, efficient, and visually stunning. It will be an instantly recognisable venue, reflecting the character and culture of the area and offering an unparalleled visitor experience. The arena will create a new landmark for Munich.

Knut Stockhusen, Partner/Managing Director at schlaich bergermann partner (sbp), added:

We at schlaich bergermann partner are very proud to be a part of the team together with Populous. 

Sports Venue Business organises & delivers ALSD International, the leading event for the Premium Seat & Hospitality sector, with a focus on optimising revenue through New Builds, Renovations & Service Expansions, on behalf of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors…

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