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SSE Hydro

A bowl-shaped venue on the north bank of the River Clyde in Glasgow, the SSE Hydro lies next to the SEC Centre and forms part of the Scottish Event Campus, west of the city centre. This is the largest entertainment venue in Scotland and, by 2015, was the world's third-busiest with an annual ticket sales of 1,164,287. The arena was designed by London-based architects Foster + Partners, built at a cost of £125 million by Bovis Lend Lease and officially opened on 30th September 2013 with a concert by Rod Stewart (b.1945). It was named for its principal sponsor, SSE Plc (Scottish & Southern Energy) and its subsidiary Scottish Hydro.

The SSE Hydro has been designed to be a flexible space, allowing the staging of a wide range of concerts, conferences and events. It holds around 140 events annually, served as a venue for gymnastics, boxing and netball events during the 20th Commonwealth Games, held in Glasgow in 2014, and the gymnastics in the 2018 European Championships. It also hosted Scotland Decides: The Big, Big Debate involving 7500 young voters in the lead-up to the Scottish independence referendum of 2014. The seats and staging can be reconfigured to provide a capacity of between 12,000 and 13,000, depending on whether standing room is available. There are eleven hospitality boxes and two large VIP suites.

It is the only UK venue of its size built specifically for live entertainment and the interior is designed to offer the optimum balance between viewing angle and distance from the stage. The lattice steel roof weighs 1400 tonnes and is a remarkable single-span structure, extending to 120m (394 feet) and reaching 45m (148 feet) above the floor at its highest point. The unique façade of the building, made up of air-filled translucent cushions, allows natural light to illuminate the interior of the arena during the day and then takes on a multi-coloured glow at night.

Constructed on part of a car park for the original SECC, that in turn was laid out on the former Queen's Dock, which was built 1872-80 and filled-in in 1975.


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