Following on from the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Masterplan, Populous was commissioned by the Victorian Government, with joint venture architects NH Architecture, to design the latest phase within the precinct redevelopment.
The refurbishment gives Melbourne and Olympic Parks its third all weather venue – more than any other Grand Slam precinct and will effectively weatherproof the Australian Open. The roof on Margaret Court Arena can close completely in less than five minutes which is twenty minutes faster than the adjacent Rod Laver Arena roof, and that means minimal disruption to play.
The new $150M multi-purpose arena includes 7500 seats, an innovative cable driven operable roof and concourse connectivity to the adjacent Rod Laver Arena. The construction period took 3 years to complete and included staged handovers for each interim Australian Open until 2015. The project is also aiming to be the first LEED accredited sports venue in Australia with a brief requirement to attain LEED Gold.
The Architectural form has derived from an understanding of key individual design elements; roof, bowl, concourse and the undercroft. The result is a cohesive architectural form conceived as a ‘container’– where the seating bowl becomes the key architectural expression allowing concourse areas to be developed independently. Large areas of glazing maximise views to the surrounding context and expose the internal architecture and internal spaces to passers-by.
The innovative pleated roof profile reduces the structural depth of the roof and importantly reduces the visual bulk of the building. The pleated roof also provides the flexibility to fold the roof down to pedestrian level to provide weather protection, particularly at venue entrances. Large roof overhangs on all sides of the building provide shade to the surrounding concourse and public realm.