The Philippine Arena is the world's largest mixed-use indoor theatre and the building's capacity is its greatest challenge. Situated on a green field site north of Manila, at Ciudad de Victoria, the arena enables 50,000 people to gather inside the building and a further 50,000 to gather at a 'live site' outside to share in major events.
The building's capacity pushes the boundary of Arena design. The form uses geometry to create an elegant appearance while also giving the venue a powerful presence within its setting.
This vast scale creates technical challenges, especially as it is a one-sided bowl. It is difficult to have 50,000 people with one focal point, give everyone a good view and create a sense of atmosphere. The tight compact bowl shape helps achieve this with its saddle bowl form, high in the centre and dropping at the flanks. Strategically placed video boards also help with atmosphere and provide additional viewing.
Another challenge was to retain intimacy and make sure the arena never feels empty. The lower bowl is the most frequently used part of the building and the design allows for easy separation of the lower bowl from the upper tier, by curtaining with acoustic and thermal properties. The building has also been designed to cope with large numbers arriving for an event simultaneously.
Consideration also had to be given to making certain the arena would be comfortable. 50,000 people in a fully enclosed building is a large crowd, and combined with Manila's humid, tropical climate meant that special measures have been undertaken to ensure the arena is adequately ventilated.
The arena not only holds major church gatherings, it also operates as a multi-use sports and concert venue, capable of holding a range of events.