A sports stadium is never just a sports stadium, just as sport is never entirely about sport. The spaces developed to house football, cricket, soccer, or whatever the case may be, end up acting as magnets for community interaction. They are sites of family gatherings as much as they are of individual allegiances and competition.

This idea of community and multi-functionality is central to the design of Perth’s new stadium. A collaboration between HASSELL, Cox and HKS, the 60,000-seat Perth Stadium is set to be so much more than a sporting centre. It represents the development of an entirely new precinct, linking river and city; entertainment and community activity.

Of course, sporting is central to the function of the stadium itself. Conceived as a ‘bowl’ shape that wraps around the field, the design allows near-360-degree views to visitors seated anywhere in the stands. A lightweight fabric roof, created specifically for the stadium, will provide shelter to approximately 85% of seats, which will look onto views of ‘Aussie rules’ football, cricket, rugby union, rugby league, soccer, and various forms of non-sport-related entertainment that will take place on the field itself.

On the outside, the stadium design pays respect to its physical and Indigenous context. The copper façade is a reflection of Perth’s geological ties, while technological additions make clear its purpose as a sporting facility.

“The design – a collaboration between HASSELL, Cox and HKS – acknowledges Australia’s unique sporting, cultural and Aboriginal heritage, and the Sports Precinct landscape provides a spectacular vista across the Swan River to the city,” says HASSELL.

“Its striking bronze façade uses anodised aluminium to reflect Western Australia’s unique geology by day and, with the help of state-of-the-art LED lighting, the home-team colours by night.”

The stadium will only be one part – albeit a large one – of a new ‘Sports Precinct’ for Perth. Outside the boundaries of the stadium, a covered community arbor will create a new link between the (again new) Stadium Station and the Swan River. An amphitheatre, several children’s playgrounds, picnic areas and a boardwalk are also being designed as part of the project.

Extensive landscaping will be undertaken around the site, with the aim of pedestrianising the Sports Precinct and extending the appeal to families and visitors outside of its primary sports function. For instance, a network of walking and cycle tracks will weave throughout the site, and a community oval will be built and opened for public use on non-game days.

The landscape design around the Sports Precinct has been inspired by the six seasons recognised by the local Indigenous community. This is reflected in artwork scattered throughout the site, which showcases the ancestral homes of the state’s 152 different language communities.

Perth Stadium is slated for completion in 2018.