Hackney gets first glimpse of Olympic Handball Arena

The finishing touches are being put to Hackney’s new 6,000-seat stadium – the Handball Arena – completed ahead of the 2012 Games.

Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, and four councillors were among the first residents to get a sneak preview of the impressive venue.

It will be London’s third largest indoor arena, but with attention focusing on the Stadium, Aquatic Centre and Velodrome, it is one of the Olympic Park’s hidden gems.

The building has more than 3,000sqm of external copper cladding – most of which is recycled – that will weather as it ages. Retractable seating means the arena will work equally well as a community sports venue as for concerts.

It was designed by Make architects, the company founded by Ken Shuttleworth, who is best known for his work on the ‘Gherkin’ in the City of London, while he was at Foster and Partners.

The group, which also included Deputy Mayor, Cllr Karen Alcock, Cabinet Members, Cllrs Jonathan McShane and Guy Nicholson, and Hackney Wick Cllr Jessica Webb, saw the finishing touches being put to the arena. Cllr Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, said: “This is an impressive example of contemporary architecture at its best. Its quality and the speed at which it has been built are a credit to the British construction industry.

“We will have in our borough a world-class, purpose-built space which is designed to host local activities alongside major international sporting, arts and performance events with 2012 legacy built in from the start.”

As well as handball, during the Olympic Games, the arena will also host fencing, modern pentathlon and Paralympic sport goalball. After the Games, the arena is expected to cater for community and elite indoor sports from basketball and badminton to wheelchair rugby and volleyball. There are also plans for a health and fitness club with changing facilities and a community café.


Notes to editors

Pic – Mayor Jules Pipe in the nearly completed Handball Arena (credit - Gary Manhine)

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