One of the Asia Pacific’s most flexible stadiums will open this Sunday (19 January) in Perth, Australia, with an open day welcoming fans into the 60,000 capacity landmark.
The AU$1.6bn (US$1.2bn. €1bn, £925m) Optus Stadium – collaboratively designed by architecture firms Hassell, Cox and HKS – is owned by the state of Western Australia and can accommodate athletics, cricket, football, Australian rules football, rugby league and union, and huge concerts and shows.
Located east of the Perth Central Business District, the ground is the focal point of a new public Sports Precinct, designed by Hassell, that stretches to the banks of the Swan River.
Constructed as a large bowl, the stadium boasts five tiers, the largest stadia super screens in the southern hemisphere, and a lightweight fabric roof covers 85 per cent of seats.
On the outside, its striking bronze facade uses anodised aluminium to reflect the state’s unique geology by day, while at night it will be illuminated by LED lighting.
Landscape design around the surrounding precinct is inspired by the six seasons of the local Indigenous people, while artwork recognises the ancestral homes of the 152 different language communities in Western Australia.
Leisure facilities, connected by walking and cycle trails, include an amphitheatre, children’s playgrounds, picnic areas, restaurants, bars, a boardwalk and a community sports oval that will be available for public use on non-game days.
The precinct, the stadium, the river and a purpose-built bus and train station are connected by a covered community arbour.
According to the architectural team, the design of the entire project “acknowledges Western Australia’s unique sporting, cultural and Aboriginal heritage”.
Optus Stadium will be home to Perth’s two Australian Football League (AFL) teams – the Fremantle Football Club and the West Coast Eagles – and the Perth Scorchers Twenty20 cricket team.
The first official fixture to take place will be between the AFL women’s teams Fremantle and Collingwood on 10 February. The state government is offering reduced-price tickets and free public transport in a bid to attract the country’s biggest crowd for a standalone women’s sporting match.
At least 30,000 fans are expected, which would break the AFLW attendance record of 10,000, but if more than 41,000 travel to the game it will eclipse a national record that has stood since 1929.
“The fact the AFLW secured the first football match at Optus Stadium shows just how far women’s sport has come in this state,” said Western Australia’s women’s interests minister Simone McGurk.
“We've seen huge increases in participation and interest in recent years in a whole range of women’s sports – and AFL Women’s has been instrumental to that success.”