Cooper Box, London, UK
The Copper Box was a venue for the 2012 Summer Olympics in the Olympic Park in Hackney, London, England. Previously known as the Handball Arena, it was renamed because, aside from handball, it hosted modern pentathlon (fencing) during the Olympics and was the goalball venue for the 2012 Summer Paralympics.
London’s Olympic bid proposed that there would be four indoor arenas in the Olympic Park, in addition to other main venues, but the revised masterplan published in 2006 reduced this to three, with the volleyball being moved to Earls Court Exhibition Centre. The fencing arena was also cancelled, and the fencing took place at ExCeL. Construction of the building was completed on time in early 2011 and came in under budget. The design incorporates light pipes and rainwater collectors to reduce both energy and water use by 40%. Test events were successfully hosted at the venue ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.
In January 2012, the venue was renamed the Copper Box from the Handball Arena, thus reflecting the look of the building and the fact that it was not just be used for Handball. English Handball campaigned for the rebrand to be reversed.
The Copper Box has 7,000 seats. It was used for handball preliminaries and modern pentathlon fencing during the Olympic Games, and for goalball during the Paralympic Games. The handball men’s quarter-finals, all semi-finals and both finals were held at the larger Basketball Arena.
The Copper Box was praised for its loud, exciting atmosphere during handball games. For the Paralympics goalball events the crowd in the Box must be silent.
The venue will be adapted to become a multi-sport arena for community use, athlete training and small-to-medium scale events. It will be the only permanent indoor sports arena retained in the Olympic Park, as the Basketball Arena will be relocated.
On 8 August 2012, it was announced that British Basketball League side London Lions would re-locate to the Copper Box for the 2013–14 season. The copper Box has been chosen to host the London ‘Grand Prix Badminton’ in 2013 from Tuesday 1st October until the finals on Sunday 6th October. The London Grand Prix forms part of the Badminton World Federations BWF Gold series.
Also the copper Box was chosen as a “money backpacker” for swimming pool – high prices for corporate events have to be a cover for the cost of swimming pool operation.