The Populous designed Philippine Arena was the biggest show yet for Katy Perry as the megastar takes a break following the Asian leg of her Prismatic World Tour. The concert attracted a crowd of 30,107, making Katy Perry one of the top three…
The Philippine Arena is the world’s largest mixed-use indoor theatre. Construction was completed in time for the Church’s Centennial Celebration in 2014.
The building’s capacity is its challenge. Situated on a green field site north of Manila, at Ciudad de Victoria, the arena enables 50,000 people to gather inside the building and a further 50,000 to gather at a ‘live site’ outside to share in major events.
The building’s capacity pushes the boundary of Arena design. The form uses geometry to create an elegant appearance while also giving the venue a powerful presence within its setting. Innovative solutions to the technical challenges of size and scale have also moved arena design forward.
This vast scale creates technical challenges, especially as it is a one-sided bowl. It is difficult to have 50,000 people with one focal point, give everyone a good view and create a sense of atmosphere. The tight compact bowl shape helps achieve this with its saddle bowl form, high in the centre and dropping at the flanks. Strategically placed video boards also help with atmosphere and provide additional viewing.
Another challenge was to retain intimacy and make sure the arena never feels empty. The lower bowl is the most frequently used part of the building and the design allows for easy separation of the lower bowl from the upper tier, by curtaining with acoustic and thermal properties. The building has also been designed to cope with large numbers arriving for an event simultaneously. People will be redirected immediately when they enter the front door to avoid major circulation build ups.
Consideration also had to be given to making certain the arena would be comfortable. 50,000 people in a fully enclosed building is a large crowd, and combined with Manila’s humid, tropical climate meant that special measures have been undertaken to ensure the arena is adequately ventilated. The arena is fully air-conditioned, and the required plant space had major effect on the floor planning.
The arena not only holds major church gatherings, it also operates as a multi-use sports and concert venue, capable of holding a range of events from boxing and basketball to live music performances. There are clear sightlines from every seat on each tier, even for various arena configurations such as church ceremonies, boxing, tennis, concerts or indoor gymnastics.