Eva Lisa Holtz Arena, Karlstad, Sweden

A record holder from the outset

Karlstad's new indoor arena - Eva Lisa Holtz Arena is the third largest in Europe and the first of its kind with a frame made entirely of wood. The design is based on Sweco Architects' design idea "arena in the forest".


The stars of tomorrow will be created in the state-of-the-art facilities on offer and many young people will experience the joy of sport. The arena includes both areas for competition and training as well as premises for meetings, learning and offices.

The new arena area is located on the edge of the I2-forest recreation area in Karlstad. Sweco's Architects were inspired by the location, leading to the design idea "arena in the forest", with timber being the material of choice for the construction of the indoor arena. The wooden facades are made of Thermowood, which means that the timber is heat-treated, enabling it to age to a natural grey colour. Timber is also used indoors, in this case with a white pigmentation to fulfil fire safety requirements. Often when arenas are constructed, a lot of steel is used, whereas cross-laminated timber is mainly used here, in floors, interior walls, railings, stands and stairs. A solid timber parapet surrounds the floor structure, leading all the way up to a large pane of glass on the upper level of the indoor arena. 213 tonnes of carbon dioxide have been saved by building with timber rather than steel.

A challenge in designing sports facilities is catering for all functionality that sport requires. Measurements, such as the curves of the running tracks, must be precise and aspects such as sight lines and camera locations must be considered, so that the audience can take fully part in what’s going on.

The balance between functionality and aesthetics creates an overall sense of harmony and contributes to the experience of the warm and active environment permeating the arena. The colours utilised in combination with the timber frame, create a welcoming feeling both for active participants as well as the spectators. To find the right colour for the floor in the sporting area, various proposals were considered initially, with a red tone chosen ultimately, to give the room warmth and energy.

The arena, which was named after a well-known local restaurateur from the 18th century, accommodates 1,700 and is built according to the Sweden Green Building Council’s environmental certification, silver standard.


Karlstad, Sweden


Karlstad Municipality and contractor ByggDialog


9,000 m2



Point of contact:

Lars Yngvesson, +46 734124748, Lars.Yngvesson@sweco.se


Felix Gerlach

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