Due to its geographical position, Belgrade has always been a focal point of all cultural and sporting events in this part of Europe. As such, the city is ideal for drawing the attention of audience from all neighbouring countries, while appealing to the most succesful artists and athlets as a gathering point for the largest number of their fans at one place.
The Employer, Secretariat for Sport and Youth of the Belgrade Assembly, has set a goal to accept nothing less than an excellent architectural solution and modern appearance for the “Beogradska Arena”. Construction of the building and installation of state-of-the-art equipment called for an experienced contractor such as Energoprojekt Visokogradnja.
The first task of the contractor was stabilization of a vast area of sand. The structure is designed as a collapsible cup. Roof structure and tiers are entirely independent.
Beogradska Arena comprises three sections: Multifunctional hall, small hall, covered and open-air parking.
The hall is 36 m high and covers an area of 48,000 m2 distributed across 6 levels, with seating capacity of 18,000 – 25,000 spectators, depending on the event. The large hall is used for hosting sporting events, rock concerts and various musical, theatrical and other stage performances. The sporting events hosted in the hall include martial sports, volleyball, basketball, table tennis, tennis, handball, futsal, gymnastics. The building is also equipped for equestrian competitions and athletics, with a 6 lane, 200 m running track.
Level 100 is the first level and houses the following facilities:
Level 200 is intended for entry and exit of spectators from the north and south of the facility. The building is entered through 24 entrances equipped with metal detector gates. Security check of spectators is conducted using x-ray screening systems. Exit is provided through 16 doors oriented in an east-west direction. Level 200 accommodates ticket offices, shops, fast food restaurants. This level is provided with an area designated for disabled people who enter the facility via ramps and lifts from Level 100.
Level 300 houses 70 VIP boxes with 860 seat capacity, out of which, the most luxurious ones are VIP lounge, central and club box. Level 300 is reached by exclusive wooden stairs from the Level 200 or by lifts from the Level 100.
Seating tiers of the Level 400 were installed to provide good view of the court. This level is designated for spectators coming from Level 200 via 4 escalators or 16 concrete staircases.
Entrances to the “Arena” are provided with visible signage and waymarking for easy navigation around the hall. The entire building is covered with closed-circuit television system. Air-conditioning system maintains a pleasant temperature of approx. 23 degrees. Apart from ventilation system, the hall is provided with humidity control system.
People visit this type of facility seeking entertainment in a comfortable environment. The key to designing such buildings is a good study of pedestrian movement. “Beogradska Arena” has one of the most successfully arranged spectators’ tiers in Europe, with easy and comfortable access, good seats and most importantly, good visibility. It is ranked amongst the best in Europe for its evacuation efficiency, since the exits from the “Arena” enable evacuation of the spectators’ tiers in 9.6 minutes.
Small hall covers an area of 2,275 m2 distributed across two levels. It is predominantly used in combination with the gym for preparation and training of athletes. Enclosed walkway under the road on the south connects it to the large hall. Due to the risk of groundwater flooding and exceeding by 6 meters level 74 which is a typical structural and architectural determinant of Novi Beograd, this hall was protected using a special technical solution called “waterproof concrete basement system”.
An interesting feature of the building is the structural design of the roof, as well as the method of installation and lifting of the main roof structure, which is a structural and technological undertaking unmatched anywhere else to date. The roof consists of a double layer prestressed orthogonal system with 3 longitudinal and 4 cross beams. The entire main roof structure weighing 3,350 t has been cast on the ground, and then lifted to the height of 26.20 m and placed on its bearing. This was executed by means of 96 hydraulic presses. Effective duration of the structure lifting operation was 28 hours, but, due to technical requirements, the entire operation lasted 16 calendar days.
According to aesthetic criteria, “Beogradska Arena” is ranked amongst the top three most beautiful halls in Europe, whereas, ranked by capacity, it occupies the fifth place. Somewhere between 600.000 and 800.000 people visit the hall on an anual basis.
Exhibition match played in August 2004 between the national teams of Serbia and Montenegro and USA was an official opener of “Beogradska Arena”, followed by a prestigious basketball tournament “Diamond Ball Tournament”.
2005 is the year that will be remembered for European Basketball Championship. Complying with the requirements of FIBA meant turning basketball into a demanding game in terms of electronics. All important information were gathered in a single computer and forwarded to the main server in Munich via optical cables. This event presented a great challenge for the future use of “Arena” and launched it to the well deserved place amongst the top buildings of the kind.
Throughout the years, “Arena” welcomed hundreds of thousands of spectators and hosted numerous concerts, Eurosong 2008, Universiade, Euroleague Basketball, Volleyball World League, tennis competitions: Fed Cup, Davis Cup.
With construction of “Beogradska Arena”, Belgrade gained a prestigious structure of European recognition and a distinctive business, urban, cultural and economic landmark. “Arena” is a trademark of Belgrade that enriches the tourist offer of the capital of Serbia which is the centre of south-eastern Balkans.