3XN - SAP Garden: training facility for basketball and ice hockey
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SAP Garden: training facility for basketball and ice hockey


Sport&Leisure  /  Future
In 2018, an international design competition was held in order to create a design for an arena and training facility for basketball and ice hockey located in the historically and architecturally significant Olympia Park in Munich.

The park and its existing sports facilities was originally designed by Günther Behnisch and Frei Otto in the early 70´s and is considered one of the most significant sport parks for modern architecture in Europe. The original vision which transcends the entire park was ‘sport in the landscape’; where the park and sport are the main features, while buildings - rather than individual architectures are integrated parts of an organically shaped landscape.

3XN created the winning design for the new addition to the park; the SAP Arena. The design excels in its ability to create a flexible, multipurpose arena with a strong identity, adding its own original, modern expression- while at the same time capturing the original vision of the architects and integrating harmoniously with the organic landscape and unique ensemble of buildings

The design is informed by the asymmetrical shape and height of the site - drawing very direct inspiration from the organically shaped landscape. The building is a separate oval structure that melts naturally and respectfully in with the park. The arena’s oval form mirrors the gently undulating curves of the surrounding landscape, and the green roof masks the building from above and enhances its visual integration into the landscape.

The facade structure dominated by vertical lamellas, softly bend to swing upwards over the glass-paneled entrances, and the height is kept on a human scale to ensure an inviting, open and welcoming appearance.

The building contains the oval arena, three training rinks, changing rooms, offices, a roof-top bar, a cafe and an underground car park. The training rinks, which lie in direct extension of the oval arena, will be covered by the manmade hill whose geometry, dimensions and height match the existing landscape.

The manmade hill provides direct access to the arena and adds new public recreational areas to the park. The existing path system in the Olympiapark is expanded to cover the new hill. The solution lets that the arena appear clear, unambiguous and distinct, as the single element in the green landscape.

Entrance sections are distributed all around the building, where stairs and footpaths offer free access and an unimpeded flow all the way around the arena, including over the top of the hill. Large, crowded sports venues can be difficult places to navigate. To make it easier to locate the entrances to the new sports arena, the facade around them is raised, making them visible from afar. In addition to facilitating natural wayfinding, as spectators intuitively move towards the openings, this design solution also adds vitality and variation to the facade. All these features help to offer the spectators a good experience when they visit.

Inside the arena, all three rinks and the basketball court are on the same level, five metres below ground. That provides a good people flow as well as optimal conditions for operations and maintenance. They are surrounded by the back-of-house functions: changing rooms, stores, delivery bays and so forth. Separate circulation routes keep pro players apart from youth players, the public and the press. Underneath is the underground car park with separate links to pro cabins, the VIP section and the lobby.

The main lobby lies in extension of the landscape at ground level. All the public functions and entrances face the bowl, keeping the facade free. That ensures a good and simple people flow and also provides views of the landscape from within the lobby.

The bowl is shaped as a single continuous form, which ensures good sight lines/views, both for ice hockey and basketball, and also provides the most intense experience for the spectators. The form of the bowl extends the landscape, and green seats reference the landscape and the Olympic Stadium.

The administrative offices are placed at the top of the building with views of the surrounding landscape as well as interior views of the bowl. Placing all the offices on the same level enables a highly flexible floor plan.

Capacity Utilizing the arena’s full organizational capacity, its two principal future occupants, FC Bayern Munich’s Basketball division and the Munich Red Bulls, can each play up to 40 matches per year. And there is additional capacity for up to 20 other matches and sports events as well as 20 sports-related events. The gross floor area of the new arena will be 673,000 square feet (62,500 square meters).

Materials The sports arena has the same materiality as the other structures in the park, using steel, glass and concrete. The vertical facade elements lets daylight in and offer outside views from the arena’s lobby area and the top-floor offices. The closed elements twist at the bottom in reflection of the rotation that the facade introduces. The organically shaped facade is constructed of flat pre-fab elements in glass and steel; an efficient and affordable solution that also enables the organic and asymmetrical design.

Flexibility is the keyword for a successful arena. The arena will primarily be used for ice hockey and basketball games but can also be used for concerts and other cultural events. Robust design solutions make it possible to transform the ice hockey rink to a basketball court or other type of venue in a matter of hours, offering a versatile setting for a diverse range of events.

Inauguration of the new sports arena is planned for late summer 2021.

Project ID
Location: Munich, Germany
Client: Red Bull Stadion München GmbH
Completion date: 2021
Built area: 62,500 m2
Costs: Confidential
Architect: 3XN
Design team:
Main contractor:
Consultants: Suppliers: CL MAP. LATZ+PARTNER
Photo credits: 3XN


 Red Bull Stadion München GmbH
 62500 mq


Award-winning Danish architectural firm 3XN offers more than three decades of experience in designing and building innovative and human-focused architecture. Founded in 1986, the firm quickly became known for creating buildings of substance with compelling aesthetics supported by a strong theoretical foundation. The firm advances Scandinavian traditions of clarity and generosity in architecture and translates them for a global audience. 3XN projects are grounded in ongoing research into how buildings reflect and influence human behavior and the environment. This results in innovative solutions to increasingly complex contemporary challenges.

GXN is the innovation unit of 3XN specializing in circular design, behavior design and digital design. The mission is to collect and apply the latest knowledge on materials, sustainability, behavior, and new technologies to the studio’s architecture. www.3xn.com


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