The Handball Arena, or Copper Box, is one of only four permanent venues in London’s Olympic Park and the third largest indoor arena in London. During the 2012 Games the venue accommodated up to 7,500 spectators and hosted three events: the handball tournament, the fencing element of the modern pentathlon and the Paralympic goalball competition. With the Games over, it will become a community resource for sports and events.
Arup provided all of the engineering services for the project, working alongside architects Make to realise a simple, cost-effective and flexible building.
Many of the building's innovative features relate to its lighting scheme. An open, glazed concourse that brings natural light into the arena while helping to achieve maximum accessibly. Eighty-eight light pipes bring natural light into the arena ensuring that for 60% of the year no artificial lighting is needed. During the Games, built-in shutters allowed the pipes to be blacked out and replaced by artificial lighting to meet the needs of broadcasters.
Designing the Copper Box demanded technical expertise and an in-depth understanding of the unique requirements of the athletes, spectators and broadcasters who would make use of the stadium. Arup drew on its experience working on previous Olympic Games venues to assemble an international team of lighting, acoustics, fire and structural specialists from the UK, Australia and China to complete the project.