Perth architectural practice Cameron Chisholm Nicol worked in collaboration with ARM Architecture to innovate the complex roof design for the Perth Arena which opened last November.

Located on the northern fringe of Perth’s CBD, the new stadium is a puzzle like form which can be configured to suit a range of different events with the ability to fit up to 15,500 patrons.

The Arena is a complex architectural feat which required new ways of thinking about design and the architects relied heavily on emerging technology.

The 3D software package Rhino was instrumental in assisting a team of over 40 architects to resolve the many design and construction issues they faced in bringing the project to fruition.

One of the features that required highly technical engineering is the retractable roof which can open and close in 14 minutes which allows natural light into the space and incorporates state of the art acoustics

Dominic Snellgrove, managing director of Cameron Chisholm Nicol said that the design of the roof needed to fit the overall façade of the building.

"The second design criteria for the roof system was its incorporation into the complex roof geometry and interface with the façade system. Selected zones of the roof had this required and the simplicity of the system meant minimal design constraints for the finished building."

Snellgrove added that selection of materials for the roofing required careful consideration due to the complexity of the shape and function.

"The Perth Arena has a number of unique design features that required the roof installation and materials to perform in a unique manner. Perth Arena specified Fielders Kingklip 700 roof sheeting. It was chosen for its commercial durability, smart profile and ease of installation," says Snellgrove.

The KingKlip is made in Australia and at 700mm, it is amongst the widest concealed-fix deckings available and is available in the full range of light and heavy gauge Colorbond colours.

Importantly for the Perth Arena, the KingKlip has no screws, hole or leaks and comes with a watertight guarantee.

"The arena roof primary function is that of water shedding. However it has to also respond to high levels of structural deflection due to the large scale moving roof which produce high deflection rates in operation.

"This causes stresses in all connections, joints and fixings. A clip connection system was adopted to accommodate this, which also provided another benefit of no fixing penetrations," says Snellgrove.

All images courtesy of Cameron Chisholm Nicol. Photography by Peter Bennetts and Greg Hocking.