Mall of Asia Arena
© Jose A. Zaballero/Pathfinder

Mall of Asia Arena

Arquitectonica as Architects

The Mall of Asia Arena is a 15,000 seat multi-purpose venue located in the Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay, Metro Manila. The 52,000 sqm (561,876-square-foot) venue was designed primarily to accommodate concerts and basketball games, but can also be configured to allow for boxing, theater, fashion, and ice-skating shows. The arena forms an integral part of a larger mixed-use masterplan built on reclaimed land facing Manila Bay. The masterplan is centered around the Mall of Asia, and includes the SMX convention center, the E-com office complexes, future hotel and serviced apartment developments, and a multi-storey carpark annex.


The arena was intended to work on several levels. First, it had to act as a draw to the larger masterplan, making the mall, the convention center and the hotels more attractive through its complementary use. Secondly, it had to be integrated with the other developments, which it does through shared infrastructure services, public transport terminals, and pedestrian bridgeways. It plugs into regional and tourism networks through its close proximity to Manila airport, ferry and cruise-ship terminals, and the city's tourist destinations. Finally, the arena had to be a profitable venture in its own right, combining efficient functionality, international construction methods, local practice, and memorable imagery.


Design challenges included a limited 16,000 sqm (172,158-square-foot) site, which required the arena to span over an adjacent road; and a high water table, which placed a limit on basements and required the construction of an 8-storey carpark annex, housing over 1,400 parking spaces. The installation of the arched roof-trusses proved particularly challenging, requiring the coordination of multiple construction teams & cranes to hoist them up.


In planning terms, the arena is arranged on two tiers, with a ring of corporate suites separating the lower seats from the balcony levels. Backstage, changing, and press areas are located on the ground floor, while BOH and admin areas are located on interstitial mezzanines. Major concourses are lined with concessions, while a VIP restaurant and lounge is located on the corporate suite level.


The arena employs grey water recycling, rainwater harvesting and waterless urinals; it shares an STP, carparking facilities and a public transport interchange with the Mall of Asia; and uses low-e coated and fritted IGU's throughout its facade.


The arena form is designed like a big eye, resting on top of a slanted podium plinth. This allows it to hold the large volume of the interior court within a dramatic vaulted space, while providing a distinctive identity to the arena as a whole. The whole eye is intended to function as a multi-media screen, projecting images of ongoing or future events, and forms a dramatic view from the arrival circle of the larger masterplan complex. It also provides the perfect architectural image for a venue dedicated to spectator sports and events.


The arena opened in May 2012 to Lady Gaga's 'Born this Way' world tour, and has since then been the favorite venue in Manila for regional and international shows.

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