Timelessness and flexibility: two design challenges that had to be met to ensure the stadium's long term relevance on campus
Curtin Stadium is an elegant solution for a multipurpose sport, recreation, examination and events space, a distilled form that clearly expresses a variety of functions. Bold, solid, transparent north-south layers and a luminous sports hall creates create a strong landmark for the campus from the west. The architecture and interior design are contemporary is expression; it proposes a clear articulation of building elements through material and form.
The building is based on a strong rectilinear plan and is clad in white, contrasting against the green landscape of the sporting greens and mature pines. The Village Green sporting ovals inform the architectural solution. The planning creates a strong circulation spine from the distinctive existing geodesic dome housing the former gymnasium, as well as circulation from the campus chancellery building and sporting precincts. Clad in maintenance-free composite aluminium panels, the Curtin Stadium is sleek metallic structure with strikingly wide crescent-shaped arches as a signature piece. The exterior elongated arches on opposite sides connect the complex to ground and assist with the concealment of the large volumes required for the Sports and Events Hall. The bold arches north and south create a strong sculptural statement within the green spaces.
The stadium is a multifunctional recreation and events space housing two gymnasiums including a private women's gym, spin room, aerobics studio, offices, reception and café decorated with a striking sculptural piece by Australian artist Howard Taylor. Its main feature is a vast 2,100 sq m space which cleverly conceals the fact that it does the work of three buildings. For formal occasions it is a graduation hall holding an audience of 2,500, with guest seating comprised of fully retractable tiered rows. A speedy conversion adapts the area to an examination room seating 1,000 students, or again to a fully-equipped sports centre providing multiple sports courts. Simple circulation spaces connect all the activities.
Cross ventilation is an integral element of the design with the sports hall walls being detailed with operable louvres allowing the building to ‘breathe’. These elements let natural light filter in during the day, and the interior to glow at night. The side of the building opens to a long wide undercroft with full protection from the weather - perfect for campus events. An elongated crescent arch along its open side provides a window view across the adjoining playing fields. An element of discovery and surprise integrated into transition spaces through the clever use of flush detailed ‘secret’ doors, providing a clean and uncluttered backdrop for movement, with the extra width allowing these corridors to serve as multi-function spaces.
The project successfully combines a well controlled robust palette with sophisticated acoustic attenuation, efficient cross ventilation and natural illumination and appropriate furniture and fittings resulting in high quality interior spaces that can accommodate a broad range of activities.