Florentine® blocks specified for new multi-million pound Leeds Arena

Leeds arena built using Forticrete products

Decorative Florentine® concrete facing blocks from Forticrete have been used for the construction of the First Direct Arena - a new purpose built 13,500-capacity entertainment venue located in the heart of Leeds.

Ensuring a spectacular and affordable finish, the external cladding of the newly completed £60 million flagship venue is dressed in a combination of Forticrete's Florentine Hamstone, Florentine Spruce and Florentine Terracotta concrete facing blocks.

Gordon Alexander at BAM Construction (North East), commented: "It was essential that the solutions we sourced delivered not only on performance and ease of installation, but would do so cost-effectively. This resulted in the use of Forticrete block work to clad the venue at ground level and provide an attractive screen wall around the enclosed side of the arena and its entrances."

The First Direct Arena, which houses 24 hospitality boxes, 4,000 sqm of public space and a 100-seat restaurant is the UK's first fan-shaped amphitheatre-style arena specifically designed to ensure spectators are never any further than 70m away from the stage, ensuring every seat directly faces the performance area, optimising 'sightlines'.

Gurminder Saraon at project architects Populous, commented: "It was essential for the construction of this truly world-class entertainment venue that we created a focal point for the regeneration of the northern quarter of the city centre. In keeping with that vision, it was vital that we delivered a distinctive, striking exterior that truly stood out from the crowd. Forticrete's decorative concrete blocks ensured just that and more. We couldn't be happier with the finish."

In-keeping with the state-of-the-art 30,000 sqm venue's bid to set a new standard for sustainably-built stadiums in the UK, it was essential that the arena's material selection made use of recycled products and sustainable materials. Forticrete's decorative concrete blocks, which are manufactured using up to 35% recycled content, are acknowledged in the Green Guide to Specification where they are rated A or A+, gaining maximum credits for the BREEAM assessment. Upon completion, The First Direct Arena was awarded a 'Very Good' rating by BREEAM, becoming the most sustainable arena in the UK.

Florentine masonry blocks are exceptionally durable and available in 17 dramatic colours allowing the creation of bold matching walls or contrasting banding and patterned effects.

Part of the company's ECOBLOCK range of masonry, these decorative concrete facing blocks are available in various finishes, profiles and a wide variety of exciting colours to ensure that architects and specifiers have access to an array of sustainable yet attractive solutions that will help make any building stand out from the crowd.

All Forticrete Specification Masonry is manufactured from a carefully controlled mixture of aggregates and cement in accordance with BS EN 771-3:2003 'Specification for masonry units' and meets the statutory requirements of the relevant sections of The Building Regulations 2000 and The Building Standards (Scotland) Regulations 1990 (amended 2001).

For more information on Florentine® concrete facing blocks click here