The Tissot Arena is located in the Bözingenfeld area in the eastern part of Biel, a development focus in this watchmaking city. The Tissot Arena has very good transport links, thanks to a dedicated bus stop with direct links to the train station and to its proximity to the A5 motorway. The A5 «eastern branch» a new direct link between the Brüggmoos and Bözingenfeld junctions, was inaugurated in October 2017. The Tissot Arena thus became even better connected to the road network. The Tissot Arena is the only stadium in Switzerland that combines an ice hockey stadium, a football stadium and a curling hall under a single roof. The stadium offers EHC Biel and FC Biel-Bienne, the Swiss Football League’s women’s team, the Biel skating club and several curling clubs a modern home and new possibilities. There are also four outdoor football training fields.
The Tissot Arena also contains restaurants, bars and a skylounge. The «Galerie-Arena» shopping centre has over 21,000 m2 of retail space. Companies that are already present, such as anchor tenants Conforama and Lipo home furnishings stores as well as Jysk, Athleticum, King Jouet and major retail distributors Denner and Migros, generate high store traffic levels.
Swatch Group has acquired the naming rights and invested in the stadium infrastructure. The building, which was originally planned under the name «Stades de Bienne», has thus officially been the Tissot Arena since February 2015.
The size of the structure can be deduced from its impressive dimensions: the Tissot Arena is 380 metres long, 120 metres wide and 28 metres high. The entire installation covers 88,600 m2, which is equivalent to about twelve football fields.
The new building consists of a conventional concrete/steel supporting structure with sand-lime brick walls. The stadium roof consists of a steel construction. The facades of the sports’ arenas are made of different materials: to ventilate the natural turf, the facade of the football stadium mostly consists of hot-dip galvanised gratings, whereas the ice hall is primarily covered in stainless steel and aluminium sheet metal sections.
Architecturally, the Tissot Arena acts as a structuring generator for the development of the eastern area of the city. To underscore the site’s urban planning importance, the
architects placed the Tissot Arena on a sort of «landscape plateau» that matches the level of Längfeldweg to the west and runs along the 800-metre-long tree-lined avenue as far as the motorway roundabout. To further ease understanding, the installation is characterised by two elements: the landscape plateau as a base and the roof with the solar energy plant. The two stadiums and the gallery are arranged between them, almost like the filling in a sandwich.
Access is on two levels: the bus stop and outdoor parking are on the ground floor at the natural terrain level; six metres higher at embankment level, there are access points for pedestrians and bicycles, as well as for deliveries. The two levels are linked by numerous flights of stairs along the landscaped banks. The underground car park is accessed from the north via Roger-Federer-Allee and from the south via Längfeldweg.
The Tissot Arena offers various forms of usage and combinations thereof – from seminar rooms for smaller groups to spacious event halls for several thousand spectators. The generous entrance area and the light, airy and transparent mall leave sufficient space for exhibitions, promotions and events. Besides the stadiums, the gallery is a platform for shopping experiences, while always creating a link with the sports stadiums.
The football stadium offers covered seating for 5,100 spectators and can be extended to accommodate 10,000 spectators. A circulation level where spectators can move around, is located two metres below the stands. VIP and media rooms are arranged immediately below the roof with a view of the pitch and the surroundings.
The ice hockey stadium can accommodate 7,000 spectators and can be quickly converted for concerts, exhibitions, conferences or trade fairs. The circulating level, where spectators can move around, is six metres above embankment level and is reached via generously dimensioned staircases. Spectators have an attractive view into the stadium even during refreshments breaks. A covered outdoor ice rink is located two floors above the embankment level.
The curling hall is designed for international competitions and has six rinks. The dressing rooms are on the entry level, while a restaurant and spectator gallery are located above. The hall can also be used in summer for smaller events or trade fairs.
The largest challenge was the short construction time. Constructing a building complex of this size in two-and-a-half years is a true tour de force and was only possible thanks to our great experience and stringent construction management and coordination ; at times, 600 people were working on the site simultaneously. An additional difficulty was that the use of some areas was only finalised during construction.
The fine-grained, water-sensitive subsoil had to be secured with sheet piling in order to reach the load-bearing substrate. Excavated material was not removed, but was stored temporarily where the outdoor football pitches now stand and later used to construct the «landscape plateau» mentioned above.
The Tissot Arena’s sophisticated building automation is also interesting. Twenty-four switching devices combine 95 ventilation and heating installations with a total of 5,500 data points. Besides current information about each individual data point, the control system also provides and visualises 900 additional outside alarms and alerts acquired by almost every device in the stadium. Every month, over 250 electricity, energy and gas metres are automatically read.
Concerning sustainability, the total contractor HRS Real Estate AG acted as a true pioneer in the Tissot Arena. The whole site fulfils the Minergie standard requirements, which is a remarkable achievement in itself. Until now, no multifunctional building of this size in Switzerland has produced heating and cooling practically CO2-neutrally.
Both the cooling needed to produce ice and the heat are produced via a heat exchanger using ground water. Waste heat from ice production can heat the entire building or be used to treat drinking water for the whole stadium via heat pumps. Two emergency gas boilers can produce additional heat in emergencies.
On the roof of the Tissot Arena, Energie Service Biel / Bienne operates the largest solar energy plant integrated into any stadium in the world. Covering a surface area of 16,500 m2, the installation has been supplying over 500 households with renewable energy since summer 2015.