The world’s largest indoor arena, the 50,000-seat Philippine Arena, has opened in Manila. Located at Ciudad de Victoria, Bocaue, Bulacan, the venue was commissioned by Iglesia Ni Cristo (the Church of Christ) as their gift to the community and was completed in time for the Church’s Centennial Celebration on July 27th 2014.
Populous designed the AUD$200m facility, with construction carried out by Korean firm, Hanwha Engineering and Construction, following an extensive search throughout Asia to find the most suitable construction company.
Situated on a green field site north of Manila, the arena is of a scale not previously seen in the Philippines and will put the country on the world stage. It has been master planned to cater not only for 50,000 inside but has the capacity for an additional 50,000 people to gather at a ‘live site’ outside the building to share in major events.
Project Director, Populous Senior Principal Andrew James advised that although the Philippine Arena was built as a community facility by the Church, it is also an example of a new breed of mega arenas beginning to develop across Asia. He expanded:
There is a growing trend, especially in Asia, for large arenas with a focus not on sports but rather entertainment and the Philippine Arena has built in flexibility and future proofing to cater for this new market. The crowds in Asia are larger than Europe or America and while professional sport is still in its infancy, people want to see the mega music stars of the West. The new arenas are increasingly also designed for concerts offering larger audiences to the artists in a safe and bespoke built environment.
As for the inspiration behind the Philippine Arena’s design, James said this came from visualising the relationship between the Head of the Iglesia Ni Cristo Church and his congregation. As he explained:
Safety and entering and leaving the building efficiently were the first priorities, and then we wanted to create a building where everyone could see and hear one person at the front of the stage as clearly as possible, where there was also a sense of intimacy and a connection, drawing on the atmosphere created when you have 50,000 people in the one space.We worked to achieve a tight, compact and shallow seating bowl, which is also gracious with its saddle bowl form, high in the centre and dropping down at the flanks. This enabled spectators not only to be able to see the speaker on the stage, but also meant they would be very aware of the other 50,000 people in the arena, so helping create atmosphere.
The Philippine Arena will be one of the Venues in Profile featured in our forthcoming Autumn/Fall ’14 edition of PanStadia & Arena Management and is also one of the projects to be unveiled during our Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific event, with Andrew James to describe the project in full detail during the conference.