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Vienna architecture firm Coop Himmelb(l)au, founded by Wolf Prix, has won the competition to redesign SCA Arena and Park in St. Petersburg, Russia. Announced this week, the sports arena’s winning design by the firm is inspired by 20th century Russian constructivist artists, translating the movement’s ideals of expressive dynamism into a contemporary, and architectural, context. 

Coop Himmelb(l)au’s design keeps the interior of the existing concrete arena (built in 2000) intact, while outside adding a frenetic steel-filigree cladding and framework. The concept is based on the curved, structural lines of Vladimir Tatlin's unbuilt Monument to the Third International, and is meant to evoke “the flowing, dynamic movement of a person skating around the stadium,” according to the firm in a statement. 

The cantilevered roof of the new arena’s design is shaped like a flattened dome, supported by steel trusses and a transparent glass-like cladding, and equipped with solar panels and an LED screen. Beyond the arena, swirling patterns created by late figure skater Nikolai Aleksandrovich Panin-Kolomenkin serve as the basis for sculptures framing the main entrance.

Rounding out the design is a new park, which was influenced by the strong diagonal planes of El Lissitzky's The New Man from 1923. According to the firm, its clean lines reference axes that span across the public outdoor space.

The New Man.

El Lissitzky's The New Man from 1923 compared to the new SCA Park design by Coop Himme(l)blau.