Property Australia

Secrets to spectacular stadiums


Perth’s Optus Stadium was recently named the world’s most beautiful sporting facility. What’s the secret to creating an exceptional arena experience? We checked in with Wood & Grieve Engineers, now part of Stantec, to find out.

The 60,000 seat, five-tiered multi-use venue was awarded the Prix Versailles 2019 Sports Award in June, beating five other shortlisted venues from China, Colombia, USA, Iraq and Russia.

The prestigious award, celebrating commercial architecture from around the world, applauds innovation, creativity, reflection of local, natural and cultural heritage, energy efficiency, and values of social interaction and participation.

Wood & Grieve Engineers, now part of Stantec, worked closely with the architecture team at HASSELL, Cox and HKS, and builder Multiplex, providing engineering expertise in electrical, fire protection, mechanical, security services, sustainability and vertical transportation.

“The Optus Stadium is an iconic, world-class venue with a ‘fans-first’ approach,” says WGE principal and electrical project engineer, Liliana Mironov.

This fans-first philosophy combines sophisticated design with cutting-edge technology. There is no such thing as a bad spot in the arena, for instance, with each seat boasting a full view of the ground and the two 340 sqm super screens.

Hard concrete benches and exposure to the elements are a thing of the past, as a lightweight fabric roof covers 85 per cent of all seats – each of them a roomy 50 centimetres wide.

Optus Stadium is far more than a sporting venue, Mironov adds. “It was designed for family and friends to gather in a space that reflects the history of the site as an Aboriginal meeting place. The building architecture, structure and technology emphasise the importance of the stadium for the whole community.”

According to Prasanna Suraweera, WGE principal and sustainability section manager, the project’s clear vision – of putting fans first – “ensured everyone on the project team had a common goal”.

“A project like this is a massive team effort,” Suraweera says, applauding the contributions of the “multiple architects, builders, design engineers and state government”.

Connectivity is at the heart of the design, Suraweera adds. The stadium offers Wi-Fi coverage, and more than 1,000 smaller screens are strategically located throughout the venue, so fans never miss the action. More than 50 food and beverage outlets offer ground views, and another 21 outlets offer views of the city.

Even the lighting solutions “are a piece of art,” Suraweera explains. “There’s a warmth at the Optus Stadium that you don’t find in other stadiums – it’s not just about the function but the experience, and all the services within are tailored to enhance that experience.”

Working on a project of this scale and complexity is a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” Suraweera adds.

“It’s an engineer’s dream, and we were honoured to be involved. We’ve got great learnings from the experience that we are now applying nationally and globally as part of Stantec.”

Learn more about how WGE’s team, now part of Stantec, are applying innovative thinking and clever engineering solutions to create better cities.