Compiled by Leah Linhares
Photography: courtesy the architects
Yulo Architects & Associates’ newly designed diner, Araneta Circle at Philippines’ most celebrated sports arena - Smart Araneta Coliseum adds a contemporary thrill to the 55 year old facility, synonymous with entertainment...
With a seating capacity of 25,000, the Smart Araneta Coliseum popularly known as The Big Dome has housed many events for more than half a century with its original structure still intact despite multiple renovations. Effecting a privy community space, 442 sq. m. of the Coliseum has now been converted into The Araneta Circle, a lounge for seasoned ticket holders attending a show, game or event at the coliseum, and as a venue for more intimate events, where the latter and the press can meet the athletes and/or performers.
Consolidated from six column bays essentially positioned from the middle of the circular building, 3m high brass double doors stand guard at the main entrance on the peripheral arcade of the coliseum, while ascending subtly on a visibly narrowing corridor; a gentle sloped ramp aligns the main entrance doors to smaller brass double doors that lead inside the coliseum.
Using a clever approach similar to Borromini’s celebrated manipulation of depth, the ceiling slopes down towards the coliseum entrance, the ramp and the narrowing corridor, contrasting the sizes of the two doors (main and coliseum), bringing about a false perspective from the main entrance resembling the Galleria de Palazzo Spada in Rome or Palladio’s stage set in Vicenza.
A well-planned design strategy utilizes repetition as the key player: lines, membranes and forms that are not merely suggested but virtualized by the human mind; repetitive steel members articulate and manipulate space and detail throughout the lounge, playing peek-a-boo with voids that host variant applications of granite, mirror, illuminated diffuser, etc.
Visually permeable walls divide the spaces in the main hall, whilst steel members against the mirrored perimeter and restroom walls achieve a Moiré effect by the movement of the reflected image juxtaposing the real one. On similar lines, a camouflage principal governs the large columns that dominate the space – wrapped as they are in a warm mother-of-pearl-coloured diffusers 30 centimeters above the floor and below door height; the exposed part above and below the diffuser clad in mirror. When illuminated, the oversized design-constricting columns seem to float and disappear.
While the ceiling flaunts a modern design style, the flooring has a different story to tell; to guarantee longer looking corridors, the corners of the floor, wall and ceiling appear to converge at the corners to give the spectators a feeling of verticality and depth. Feast not only your appetite but your eyeballs too, as The Circle hypnotizes by witty architectural strategy of illusion!