Hydro Arena in Glasgow City

Glass in Stadium and Arena Design

How Gray & Dick have helped to put glass stadium design on the map.

Scotland’s National Arena

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After a year’s delay, the hotly anticipated Euros are finally coming to the UK, with some four matches taking place in Glasgow throughout June. Scotland will take on Croatia and the Czech Republic at Hampden Park Stadium – just a stone’s throw away from Scotland’s National Arena, the SSE Hydro Arena.

In 2004, Gray & Dick were appointed as the main glass supplier for the new development of Glasgow’s imposing arena. This is just one example of Gray and Dick’s contributions to Scottish architecture, as well as the evolution of glass in stadium design.

Changing arena design
Things have come a long way since football stadiums were used for weekly games. Arenas are now the staple of city centres – entertainment venues and tourist attractions designed to attract crowds from miles around.

This is where glass offers so many benefits for modern-day stadium architects. Firstly, glass boasts a contemporary aesthetic that can be moulded and manipulated to fit a variety of futuristic, geometric designs.


We see this in practice with the Hydro Arena, which features a sloping elliptical shape. Today, the arena is Scotland’s second busiest venue, attracting 5 million visitors in its first year alone. Seating 12,500, it is described by some as having the “Hydro Effect”. The stadium has injected an incredible £336 million into the Scottish economy per year.

It is also known for its unique Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene façade. These LED cushion panels were originally designed for use in space, showcasing how forward-thinking this glass design was.

Sustainability first
Glass in arena design also provides a number of eco-friendly benefits. For starters, the large amount of natural light cuts down on power from artificial sources. This also helps with heat management and ventilation, helping to cut down on energy use from heating and air conditioning.

Glass is also lightweight and yet incredibly strong, helping to protect against the elements while reducing the amount of raw material needed. This durability gives stadiums a much longer shelf life. Likewise, there is no danger of stadiums going ‘out of style’ anytime soon thanks to their contemporary geometrical shapes.


A better viewing experience

Beyond the Glasgow stadium alone, glass stadium design helps to improve the viewing experience for all spectators. Simple curvature allows for panoramic views, adding more value to every ticket and empowering events organisers to charge a premium for high-quality entertainment.

With 2021’s unique approach to the Euros – hosting games all over Europe – we should see an opportunity to put both Scotland and the UK in general on the map. We see this as an unmissable chance to bring even more glass-inspired design into modern arenas and entertainment venues.

Our services
Gray & Dick is the market leader in the design, supply and installation of high-end structural glazing. With more than 40 years’ experience, we partner with the best brands to deliver a long-lasting product that will transform commercial properties.

To find out more about structural glazing from Gray & Dick, call us on 0141 952 9619 or send us a message via our website contact page.

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