Scotland’s stunning new concert hall, “The SSE Hydro,” is a gleaming “cymbal” of rolled aluminium from Hydro.
The just-completed “The SSE Hydro” is the biggest multi-purpose arena in the UK. It is designed to stage concerts, conferences and a wide variety of other events, and has a seating capacity of 12,000.
Designed by the world-renowned architectural firm, Foster & Partners, the venue has a diameter of 125 meters, the roof arches overhead at a height of 45 meters. This impressive structure was constructed wholly out of stucco-embossed aluminium strip supplied by Hydro’s rolling mill in Holmestrand, Norway.
This light yet high-strength roof solution allows “The SSE Hydro” to shine brightly and adds a new highlight to the skyline of Glasgow. It sits directly next to another building designed by Foster & Partners in 1997 – the Clyde Auditorium, also known as “The Armadillo.”
From above, the arena is harmoniously well-rounded and glistening, with its glass front rising at an angle towards the river bank. The architects were clearly inspired by the amphitheaters of ancient Greece or Rome. The stage, in the form of an ellipse, offers the public an ideal view whether they are near the apron or further back. At night, the glass facade glows with fascinating light effects. During the day, in contrast, the building is illuminated in a more natural way, by the sun and sky.
The first entertainer to appear at The SSE Hydro was British rock star and pop music legend, Rod Stewart. Since then, other top international stars from the worlds of entertainment and sport have appeared at the venue.
Around one million visitors a year are expected to pass through its doors. In the future, it will rank as one of the five biggest entertainment arenas in the world, just behind Madison Square Garden in New York.
The new cultural venue was not, however, named after Hydro Aluminium. The main sponsor of the construction work was SSE, the Scottish energy company, which operates more than 50 hydroelectric power stations.
Hydro’s UK sales manager Dave Goddard, who worked with the system manufacturer Kalzip on this project, said "This is yet another major public building that has taken advantage of all the design freedom that aluminium sheet offers. Not only is it a durable and sustainable solution, but also a genuinely beautiful and iconic structure.”