The Sun Arena at Time Square in Menlyn Maine is the biggest live entertainment venue in Pretoria. The purpose of the arena is to create an events and performance space where some of the biggest music concerts in South Africa will be held.

The multi-faceted brief to the architect was to create a performance venue that could seat 8 500 people and could be adapted to accommodate 1300 banquet guests and up to 18000 delegates in a school room format. The client wanted a continuous roofspan without any columns and the arena had to incorporate all of bells and whistles that would make it an arena of international standard. The fly tower height of the arena, which is the framing around the stage, is of international standard which means that many international performers will be able to perform at the Sun Arena.

The project wasn’t envisaged in steel from the start. The columns on which the edged gutter and roof wedges sit were originally conceived in concrete, but due to steel offering faster construction times, this was later changed to steel. The roof structure, which is a tubular truss frame roof, plus a large gutter were done in steel. The gutter of the roof has a steel construction tension ring and there is a compression ring in the centre of the roof trusses.

The design team had to create an acoustic sandwich out of the cladding because the performance arena had to be insulated from noise from traffic and weather, and it also had to prevent interference from the concert to neighbouring facilities. The cladding also had to be watertight so that the arena would be kept dry during bad weather. Global Roofing Solutions supplied 86 tonnes of cladding to cover the 1300m2 cladding area for the project. The company’s widely popular KlipTite system was specified for the project.

The geometry of the cladding of the Sun Arena is particularly interesting because the roof was designed as a series of wedges. A curved gutter edge, however, meant that when an edge intersected with a curve, it would lead to a varying height at the bottom. During the project, the team had to resolve how they were going to marry the varying heights at the bottom of the cladding that resulted from the combination of curved gutter edges and roof wedges.

The roof has a 96m, column-free span, which is unusually large. While there are many long span roofs in warehousing projects, the unique acoustic envelope that the team had to create makes it an exceptional project.

The entire project team worked together from the start to conceive the structure and decide on the appropriate materials for the arena. The main contractor was involved in all stages of the project so that the goal of creating an economic, structurally efficient and aesthetically pleasing structure could be achieved. The team also worked in a 3D modelling program called REVIT, which led to digital design-led decision making and information sharing.

STRUCTURAL STEELWORK
Tons of structural steel used Approx. 1 800 tons
Structural profiles used Tubular Steelwork up to 1000mm diameter in roof,  Hot rolled in Sub-grid and Seating

Project Team

Project Team Role Company
Nominator CADCON (Pty) Ltd
Client/ Developer SUN INTERNATIONAL
Architect LYT Architects
Structural Engineer WSP
Quantity Surveyor MLC
Main Contractor WBHO
Steelwork Contractor CADCON (Pty) Ltd
Steel Erector On Par
Cladding Contractor Chartwell Roofing
Corrosion Protection
Paintwork Contractor
Dram Industrial Coatings
Photographer, Photo competition SUN INTERNATIONAL