In what leading sport venue designers Populous describe as a ‘world first’, an integrated arena seating tier made from SPS helped to turn Dublin’s ageing Point Theatre into a world-class venue hosting over three million people each year.

Dating from 1878, this protected structure in Dublin’s docklands had previously seen other renovations but to maximise the available space and improve the acoustics in the venue different thinking was required. Populous envisaged a gigantic fan formation, a ‘unique elliptical amphitheatre auditorium’ with fewer supporting columns across the 50 metre [164 feet] roof span.

3Arena‘s final design, which opened under O2 branding in 2008, increased the available seats in the venue from 8,500 to 13,000 and includes 1,020m² [11,000 ft²] of SPS arena terraces accommodating approximately 2,400 spectator seats. Structural composite SPS is a heavy-duty stadium system with impact and sound absorption characteristics that rival concrete while remaining architecturally versatile

The installation of the SPS arena terraces was quick: the upper section of the arena utilised precast concrete with the lower section utilising SPS arena terracing. The O2 Arena team did not want large supporting columns creating sightline problems when a standing crowd was on the ground floor. The SPS Stadia+Arenas System achieved exactly what the O2 management team wanted in the arena’s construction.

The SPS installation started when the precast concrete was halfway completed. By the time the concrete was three-quarters complete, SPS had caught them up, showing the ease and speed of installing SPS terraces.


“We designed the arena bowl with SPS Terraces in mind; nothing else could have delivered the solution we wanted.

I am delighted with the quality of finish we have achieved using SPS Terraces – they are the future.”

Damon Lavelle, Architect, Populous (previously HOK Sport)

The SPS Stadia+Arena System is a prefabricated, modular system delivering arena construction projects from the simplest to the most complex. Not just arena terraces, the System has grown to include aisle steps, ‘speed stairs’, vomitory walls, handicapped and media platforms.

SPS is unique in its ability to ‘re-profile’ an existing venue delivering a modern spectator experience while keeping the historical feel that dedicated fans expect.  Quinton van Tonder’s article SPS Stadia + Arenas System Explained gives more in-depth information about this unique system!