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Published May 6, 2022

Populous Designs a First for Germany

Populous to design Germany’s first climate-neutral event arena


By Jen Levisen

MUCcc Arena Aerial - Populous.jpg

Global architectural design firm Populous has been chosen as the architect for a new multi-use, climate-neutral, 20,000 capacity event arena in Munich, which will be Germany’s first climate-neutral event area.


Populous’ winning design was selected after a multi-stage architecture competition. It draws upon Bavarian heritage and character to create an eye-catching concept for the new arena, with the support structure skilfully paying homage to the lozenge shape used in the Bavarian state flag. This instantly and clearly associates the arena with the south of Germany and creates a high recognition factor. The arena’s structure means that even from a distance, visitors can see inside the arena and get a taste of the entertainment that awaits them.

“Our design aims to create a unique destination – compact, efficient, and visually stunning,” said Sin-Jae Yoo, Associate Principal at Populous. “It will be an instantly recognisable venue, reflecting the character and culture of the area and offering an unparalleled visitor experience. The arena will create a new landmark for Munich.”

MUCcc Arena view from south east - Populous.jpg

The interior design takes into account the ever-increasing demands of artists in terms of technology, stage shows and productions. Countless details are tailored to satisfy the needs of artists, organisers and visitors, and to provide incomparable concert and live experiences. 

The seating is arranged in a horseshoe shape (270 degrees), clearly placing the focus on the multifunctional stage. The combination of steeply raked seating, state-of-the-art technology and the expertise of acoustic specialists who have worked on opera houses and symphony halls will result in world-class experiences at concerts and live events. 


“Construction and operation of Germany’s most sustainable concert arena will provide a significant cultural and economic boost for the region and make it even more attractive to tourists,” said Gert Waltenbauer, Director of SWMUNICH. “The arena will help to make the Munich metropolitan region and the state of Bavaria future-proof and internationally competitive in the event sector.

The arena will be located in an entirely new green space next to LabCampus, the technology and innovation centre at Munich Airport. As there is currently no comparable venue in the metropolitan area of Munich, it will add to the cultural offering of the region, and boost tourism and the local economy. Deloitte, the leading auditing firm, has estimated the gross added value for Freising and the region to be around 285 million euros per year.

MUCcc Arena bowl - Populous.jpg
MUCcc Arena underpass - Populous.jpg

The arena will also fully meet the requirements of concerts and live entertainment events. SWMUNICH is pursuing a concept that will set new quality benchmarks for external architecture and interior design (acoustics, sightlines, equipment, and hospitality) as well as the important aspects of sustainability, transportation, and the environment.

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In a first for Germany, the new event arena will be climate-neutral thanks to lifecycle-based planning to reduce the carbon footprint during construction and climate-positive management of the operating phase. Several thousand solar panels on the roof of the arena and around the site, coupled with the potential for geothermal energy and district heating, will ensure that the energy for operating the arena can be generated and supplied on site.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals provide the framework for the arena’s sustainability and climate strategy, and it will be certified according to an internationally recognised sustainability system, so that achievement of the targets can be objectively evaluated and transparently measured.


“The design for MUCcc Arena places people at its heart, delivering a unique and immersive visitor experience, as well as showcasing the very latest in sustainable design methods,” said Declan Sharkey, Lead Architect for the project and Senior Principal at Populous. “The project will create a new cultural centre for Munich and the wider Bavarian region to rival the best live entertainment venues in the world.”


Populous is a global architecture and design practice that has led the design and delivery of some of the most iconic sports and entertainment projects across Europe and around the globe, including Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the O2 Arena, Lyon’s Groupama Stadium, and the newly-opened Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, US.

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