Initially named the Hockey Centre, the Riverbank Arena was renamed in January 2012 as it will host Paralympic five-a-side and seven-a-side football during the summer Games, in addition to hockey.
A temporary venue, it comprises two separate pitches, one of which has seating for 16,000 spectators and the other — a warm-up area.
The main pitch was unveiled in October 2011, but the arena was not completed until March 2012, two months before the main test event. The playing surfaces are blue and the border areas are pink — so London 2012 will be the first instance that the Olympic hockey tournament has not been played on a green pitch.
The eye-catching colour scheme has been designed to make it easier for spectators to pick out the yellow balls which will be used in the Olympic hockey tournaments.
The venue already has a royal stamp of approval, following the visit of Prince William’s wife Kate to the site for its opening in March 2012. The Team GB hockey event and photo shoot saw Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge meeting with the Team GB hockey team, before hitting some shots on the new surface.
A few weeks later an International Invitational Hockey Tournament at the Riverbank Arena saw teams from Germany, Great Britain and South Korea successfully test the venue’s facilities in an event which was also open to the public.
After the Games the arena will be relocated to the north of the Olympic Park, where it will form part of the set-up in the new Eton Manor facility. The seating capacity will be reduced to 3,000, but there will be room for it to expand to 15,000 for big matches.
Designed by architects Stanton Williams and engineered by Arup, beyond 2012 the centre will be owned by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority in partnership with England Hockey.
Public facilities: The Games Mobility service will be present, plus there is a London 2012 Shop. There will also be London 2012 information points for venue and sports information, transport updates, lost and found services and pushchair and wheelchair storage.
History: A new temporary venue built for the London 2012 Olympic Games, it opened in the spring of 2012 and was visited by Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge in March of this year.
What’s on? Hockey (29th July to 11th August)
How do you get there? The Olympic Park can be reached by rail, underground, Docklands Light Railway, bus or coach. National Rail, London Underground and DLR all serve Stratford station to the east of the park and West Ham station to the south, while Transport for London has bus stops in the area and there will be coach services to the park.
Find it on the map: here.
Location – in relation to other venues: The closest venues to the Riverbank Arena in the Olympic Park are Copper Box and the Velodrome.
Location – in Olympic Park: Located next to the River Lee — hence its name — at the northern end of the Olympic Park.
Location – on the tube: Closest underground stations are Stratford (Jubilee and Central lines - around 15-minute walk) or West Ham (District and Hammersmith & City lines – around 25-minute walk).