People First Stadium

Gold Coast, Australia
Opened in 2011
Architecture, Wayfinding
People First Stadium, home to the Gold Coast SUNS, was Australia’s greenest and most cost effective stadium when it opened. It was the first stadium in Australia to have a solar halo of photovoltaic cells integrated into the roof design, providing 20% of its energy needs.

Completed in May 2011, the challenge was to build the stadium quickly and efficiently to use during the Australian Football League (AFL) season, yet still provide the best in a 21st century venue from corporate hospitality to environmentally sustainable design. People First Stadium’s green credentials are particularly demonstrated through its solar halo and its intelligent public transport planning.

The stadium’s capacity was set at 25,000 seats to help create an intense atmosphere for the new AFL club. A further challenge was to future-proof it to ensure capacity could be increased to 40,000 seats to host larger events such as the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The bowl was designed in a horseshoe shape to allow for the installation of a temporary end stand. To facilitate an athletics program, a temporary track can be located within the main stadium.

Stewardship and sustainability were guiding principles of the stadium’s design. By integrating the solar panels into the roof design and making them visible to all spectators, it reinforces to the public the positive benefits of solar power. Moreover, the stadium’s roof design references its unique Gold Coast identity with a wave form reminiscent of the ocean and the undulating backdrop of the hinterland.

People First Stadium offers a step forward in corporate hospitality. Stylish and contemporary suites and lounges with informal seating and coffee tables were designed to create an atmosphere of ‘watching from home’ at the live match experience. Open corporate barbecue terraces provide a more relaxed corporate environment and reflect the Gold Coast lifestyle.

The Coaches Field Club was a new concept in fan experience in Australia, which has since been introduced at other venues. Members have direct viewing access into the home team’s warm-up areas, and can even high-five SUNS players as they run out onto the pitch, providing a real connection between the fans and the players.

The stadium, which allowed for the creation of a new team within the AFL, has been embraced by its local community and lifted the bar on cost effective environmental stadium design. It regularly attracts a large number of traveling fans from other cities, and when it opened, the AFL considered People First Stadium to be a ‘blueprint’ for future stadiums.

An AFL annual Fan Survey rated the stadium “The Best AFL Match Day Experience” in both 2011 and 2012.

People First Stadium staged the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2018 Commonwealth Game as well as the track and field events.

The venue is also capable of holding ICC cricket matches, concerts, festivals, IAAF athletics events and FIFA World Cup football matches. It has hosted a range of music events such as the Foo Fighters in 2011, one of the largest concerts in the Gold Coast’s history, and the Big Day Out in 2014, with Pearl Jam as the headline act.

  • 2012

    • Regional Commendation for Gold Coast and Northern Rivers Region, Australian Institute of Architects
    • Helen Josephson Award for Innovation in Urban Design, Gold Coast Urban Design Awards
    • Finalist, Stadium Business Awards
    • Overall Winner for Engineering Merit, Steel Design Awards
    • Large Project Awards, Steel Design Awards
3 items.
  • Paul Henry Senior Principal, Co-Managing Director – APAC, Founder Brisbane
  • Chris Paterson Senior Principal, Director Brisbane
  • Christopher Hardie Senior Associate, Brand Activation Lead Brisbane

Explore More Projects

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Non facere corporis et expedita sit nam amet aut necessitatibus at dolore enim quis impedit eius libero, harum tempore laboriosam dolor cumque.

Lorem, ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipisicing elit. Illo temporibus vero veritatis eveniet, placeat dolorem sunt at provident tenetur omnis, dicta exercitationem. Expedita quod aspernatur molestias eum? Totam, incidunt quos.