HOTA Outdoor Stage

This is a super-versatile arts and culture venue: a black-box theatre and an amphitheatre with seating and lawn space for 5,000. Its landscape and attitude are tailored to Gold Coast lifestyle.


The Outdoor Stage is the first realised element of ARM’s HOTA Masterplan.

We completed the masterplan in 2013, in partnership with landscape architects TOPOTEK1, and are now realising it in stages.

The double-sided building is a black-box theatre with a riverside entrance and a back wall that folds away completely, opening the box out onto the amphitheatre.



The back wall is literally an aircraft hangar door—a massive horizontal bi-fold that collapses against the ceiling.

With the hangar door closed, the black box is suitable for small performances, rehearsals and functions. In amphitheatre mode, the Outdoor Stage can host major public events from rock concerts to orchestral performances.

It was featured on Australia by Design: Landscapes in 2018.

The whole venue is nestled underneath a landscaped mound. There is a commercial kitchen to cater for public and private functions, plus dressing rooms and backstage amenities.

The landscape is set up for temporary things like food trucks, merchandise kiosks and portable toilets. It’s durable, versatile and bespoke—tailored to Queensland’s climate and for maximum activity.

The HOTA Outdoor Stage was launched in March 2018 by musician/comedian Tim Minchin with a sizzling band. It was a balmy night and an excited crowd of 3300 came out with their chairs, dinners and picnic rugs.

It’s been immortalised in Gold Coast Monopoly, although we think $M140 seems a bit low.

The HOTA precinct will be unified visually by the dynamic, organic cellular structure of the Voronoi, nature’s most robust but delicate shape. It’s a distinctive design motif that has determined the shapes on the walls, canopy, paths and garden beds of the Outdoor Stage.

A Voronoi diagram is a network of cells that occurs naturally in many plants and animals—even honeycombs and bubbles. We have used it on other projects including the Wintergarden and the Melbourne Recital Centre. Voronoi shapes in nature adapt and shift in response to external change—this is a perfect structure for a cultural precinct that reflects the furious, youthful energy of Australia’s sixth biggest city.

The Outdoor Stage and its landscape welcome people 24/7. If there’s no performance, function or other activity on, the stage and its steps are still open for buskers, for children’s role plays, for impromptu shows.

The green roof is an adventure-based place of discovery to be climbed on, explored, sat on, picnicked on. The lawn is big and useful. There are no gates, and the landscape is accessible for people of all mobilities.

Under construction in 2017: the canopy is a Voronoi pattern made of tensile fabric.

The Outdoor Stage has won multiple awards for landscape architecture and construction.

“It successfully demonstrates how open space can foster public life…The outdoor stage makes a valuable contribution to the community and is a significant drawcard for local, national and international visitors.”

—Jury report, 2018 AILA National Awards