On the northern fringe of the Perth CBD, the new Perth Arena indoor sports/entertainment centre opened in November 2012 with concerts by Sir Elton John and Jennifer Lopez.
With state of the art acoustics, and a retractable roof that opens and shuts in just fourteen minutes, the stadium is designed for large crowds (up to 12,000 people in concert mode), and intimate performances for 3,000 people. In tennis mode, the new home of the Hopman Cup will cater for up to 15,500 spectators – a figure that will shortly be tested, with play commencing on 29 December 2012.
The ability to provide a variety of staging modes is part of the stadium’s engineering logic – performances can be held on centre stage or end stage, and events such as motocross, equestrian shows and competitions, and ice skating can be held in the round. Hard-wired sustainability measures include one of the largest photovoltaic solar-power arrays of any building in Western Australia.
Design of the arena is a joint venture between by ARM Architecture and Cameron Chisholm Nicol, who based the striking form on the Eternity puzzle, with references to one of Perth’s oldest buildings: the twelve-sided Roundhouse in Fremantle. The arena’s cloak of Yves Klein blue is carried through to some of the interiors, where it is complemented by timber-panelled concourse areas and other surprise pockets of colour.