With its 9800 triangular panels and a thousand rectangular panels, its architects - Ashton Raggatt McDougall (ARM) and Cameron Chisholm Nicol (CCN) – appear to have used the rhetoric of the puzzle to describe the building’s outward and inward aesthetics. However, this interpretation is rather superficial, based on subsequent impressions rather than the architects’ original ideas.
The idea of the puzzle can be extended to the very essence of the building. Containing a flexible concert venue and sporting events stadium with a capacity of 15.000 people, where coaches can drive directly onto the arena floor, and featuring five multipurpose function rooms, a 686-bay car park in the basement, a 56-metre by 35-metre retractable roof that opens in just seven minutes, 36 corporate suites, and half a dozen food and beverage outlets; the building is highly complex. Interlocking basket- ball courts slide over tennis courts. It is easy to see how a puzzle became the vehicle for its external expression. Its sheer multi-functionality makes Perth Arena an impressive giant 3D puzzle and piece of architecture.
The complex is based on ‘Eternity,’ a puzzle that was launched in 1999. Thought to be practically unsolvable, its manufacturer offered a £1 million prize for whomever could solve it within four years. Unsurprisingly, it became a global craze, and was solved about a year after its launch. By the time Eternity Puzzle II came out in 2007, preparatory construction work for Perth Arena had already begun.
Located in the city centre, the new 28.000 square metre arena replaces Perth Entertainment Centre as the first phase of a 13.5-hectare urban renewal project to link Perth’s central business district directly to Northbridge by sinking the Fremantle railway line. Opening last November, the building cost AUD 548.7 million (about €355 million) and has become home to the Perth basketball team, the Wildcats, and the international tennis tournament, the Hopman Cup.