A reflection of the times

Wednesday 23 Jul 2014

The Philippine Arena completes in Manila, signalling a shift in stadium design

“The Philippine Arena is the first of a new breed of entertainment mega arenas and theatres developing across Asia,” says Andrew James, Project Director for The Philippine Arena and Populous Senior Principal. He is referring to a 50,000-seat AUD$200m stadium designed by Populous and constructed by Korean firm Hanwha Engineering and Construction, recently completed north of Manila.

Funded by Iglesia Ni Cristo (The Church of Christ) as a gift for the community, The Philippine Arena is a located on a generously-proportioned greenfield site and is due to host a variety of cultural, entertainment, sporting and religious events. The one-sided seating bowl is split into two tiers, both including approximately 25,000 seats.

The lower bowl will be the more heavily-used of the two tiers, with a curtain hung from the roof soffit providing a clear separation between levels during smaller performances. This curtain also has acoustic and thermal properties.

Populous’ design enables the arena to host a number of different sporting matches, from boxing and tennis to gymnastics. Religious events are also well-catered for, with flexible seating for a 2,000-strong choir set behind the stage which folds into itself and can be stored away in a floor pit.

Speaking on the importance of retaining a sense of atmosphere in such a large arena, James explains: “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 comfort of users also played a significant role in the design process due to the arena’s location in a humid, tropical climate. Natural ventilation methods are coupled with air-conditioning to ensure optimum comfort levels for all spectators and those taking part in sporting activities or performances. 


Client: Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ)
Architect: Populous - Design & Construct
Engineering: Buro Happold Hong Kong (MEP and Structure)
Contractor: Hanwha Engineering and Construction Corp
Project Management: New San Jose Builders
Contractor’s Architect: Haeahn Architects, Korea
Landscaping: Peter Walker

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