SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Foster + Partners
Date Built
2011 - 2013
Exhibition Way, Glasgow
The SSE Hydro looks as if it landed on this site rather than being constructed there.  It derives its name from Scottish Hydro, a subsidiary of its sponsor Scottish and Southern Electricity.  It was built in time to be used as a venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games when it was home to the netball and gymnastic events.

Foster's website explains that the brief was to create, ".... a new entertainment destination within the redevelopment of Glasgow’s former docks". Their solution was, ".... A highly flexible indoor venue, the 12,500-capacity arena provides a combination of fixed, retractable and removable seating to enable a wide range of different staging and concert layouts – it can also be configured for a number of sporting events."  Of the building, they add that its form is determined, ".... by the seating, which wraps around the stage above ground level and rises toward the front, optimising the viewing angle and drawing the audience closer to the excitement of the performance. The roof canopy follows this distinctive angled profile, rising away from the busy main road to the rear to reveal a dramatic 40-metre-high elevation to the south – its dramatic structure spans 120 metres in a shallow dome of diagonally latticed steelwork, weighing 1,400 tonnes. The facades are clad in translucent ETFE panels, onto which patterns and images can be projected, and which can be illuminated to make the building glow like a beacon for the new quarter at night."