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The Adelaide Entertainment Centre

Anthony Caggiano visits the AEC’s bold new orb.

The Adelaide Entertainment Centre


April 7th, 2010

The Adelaide Entertainment Centre finds a new focus thanks to an innovative facelift unveiled in March.

Melbourne’s Designinc was briefed to produce a new facade for the building as part of a $52 million upgrade of the site.

Design architect of the project Ian Khoo said the site had “no sense of arrival at the site in my opinion” with just a small sheltered walkway to guide visitors.

The ‘orb’ – a dome-like structure with dynamic LED lighting is now the dramatic focal point for the arena.

“The orb was a sort of brand statement for the AEC and an entry experience to the disparate parts of the centre,” Ian said. “It’s a central hub for the Entertainment Centre.”

Paying homage to the existing architecture, the orb’s curve almost aligns with the curve of the main arena’s roof.

Rolled steel tube and hollow steel sections support the structure and hollow tube sections piece the orb together.

The 140 “pillows” of the orb are comprised of two sheets of Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, or EFTE, the same material used to clad the Cube for the Beijing Olympics, heat welded and clamped together.

EFTE, a polymer, was chosen as it is lighter and better conforms to twisting than glass and with the white outer layer, provides UV protection below.

Two LED lights are clipped to the structure underneath each pillow, reflecting light off the white exterior sheet of the pillow.

The dynamic lights animate the orb with 16 million colours and patterns, including the French Flag, orange and white checkers and a sea of bright colours.

Offsetting the orb is a 2.4m x 67m LED high-resolution Super Screen projecting video and images of upcoming events.

“The box element adds light and gives the idea of something happening,” Khoo said.

Designinc also designed the new 2500-seat Theatre and the Star Room, formerly the Alchemy function room.


All photography by James Field

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