A Summer of Tennis

Two Populous designed venues feature in what promises to be a magnificent summer of tennis ahead in Australia.  The action begins in our home state of Queensland just after Christmas, with the Brisbane International at the Queensland Tennis Centre 29th December – 5th January 2014.

The $82M Queensland Tennis centre at Tennyson on Brisbane’s Southside was completed in 2009, benchmarked against the best in the world and now attracts many of the world’s top players to the annual Brisbane International. The tournament is part of the Australian Open Series and many top players use it to   begin their 2014 campaign. This year both Roger Federer and Serena Williams will pIay – Federer for the first time .

The innovative feature of the Centre Court, Pat Rafter Arena, is the fixed roof which acts as both a parasol and an umbrella providing both outdoor atmosphere and permanent roof cover necessary in the Brisbane summer, sheltering all 5,500 spectators from the heat and rain. Queensland’s sub-tropical climate can certainly attract the rain.  The damaging 2011 floods in Brisbane necessitated a redevelopment of the arena’s undercroft and player facilities.

Meanwhile in Melbourne, construction has now suspended on the Margaret Court Arena, as preparations are made to ensure the facility is ready to host the major event, the Australian Open, which runs from Jan 13th – January 26th 2014.   Margaret Court Arena is undergoing a major three year transformation, in between each Open tournament, to enclose the existing court with internal concourse and operable roof.  There’s still a year of work to go, but the distinctive new roof is now in place, and although fixed in its open position for 2014, it will still provide fans within the seating bowl with much greater shade than was previously possible.   

 By AO 2015 the “copper penny” coloured retractable roof will be fully operational, along with increased seating for 7,500 spectators and internal concourse with connectivity to the adjacent Rod Laver Arena. It will be the fastest closing roof in Australia, able to shut completely in less than five minutes enabling Margaret Court to become a functional all-weather boutique venue for a busy all year round schedule. NH Architecture and Populous are the design team working for the Victorian Government to complete the $160M redevelopment.  Part of the challenge has been to manage the construction so that the Australian Open could use the court and seating bowl each January.

Margaret Court Arena will set a new benchmark with its sustainability initiatives, aiming to be the first LEED accredited sports venue in Australia, so it can be compared with similar global venues for ESD measures. Water consumption has been carefully considered with roof rainwater collected, stored and treated on the site using the precinct’s dedicated stormwater harvesting system.   The primary function of the redeveloped Margaret Court Arena will be to stage major matches of the Grand Slam tournament, but the covered boutique arena will also host netball, basketball, major concerts and entertainment events.  We’ve put together some visuals to illustrate what’s been involved in the construction process to date ( courtesy of Video Vision) and combined this with the latest animation (courtesy of Scharp Design) to show just what the arena will look like when it is completed in November 2014.



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