Leading the world in sustainable design ten years on

ANZ Stadium

  • Sydney
  • 1999

CHALLENGE. ANZ Stadium is a powerful icon on the Sydney landscape. It is the largest capacity Olympic stadium ever built. The challenge was to design a venue which could accommodate 118,000 people during the Olympics but which could be reduced down afterwards to operate as a sustainable long term venue of 85,000 seats. The design solution was the removal the upper end tiers and the addition of end roof post-Games. Moveable seating tiers on rails were also installed to enable spectators to be brought in closer to the action, and allow for a variety of sports. This was the first time that a stadium of this scale had been designed to be re-configured post event.

An additional challenge was to design a distinctively Australian building which would live up to the Olympic Opening Ceremony and also provide a legacy for Sydney and the existing infrastructure of the city. Sydney had two internationally recognized man made icons- the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Each is a design solution about spanning large distances with a great strength of purpose. ANZ Stadium has built on that tradition creating a sports and leisure venue to compliment these existing structures. The distinctive white steel trusses that support the roof of the stadium, each 295 metres long, half the span of the Harbour Bridge, are deliberate symbols of power.

INNOVATION. The stadium is a model of green, functional, cost effective design and is still regarded as one of the most environmentally sustainable stadia in the world. The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) wanted the Sydney Olympics to be the ‘Green Games’. Innovative environmentally sustainable measures that were introduced into the main stadium included recycling rainwater from the roof into underground storage tanks to irrigate the pitch and a range of passive design measures including ventilation and natural cooling/heating, an on-site gas fired co-generation system.

The moveable seating tiers were a further innovation to allow for maximum flexibility. The stadium can be easily transformed from athletics to rugby, cricket, soccer and AFL, as well as used for concerts and trade shows.

ANZ Stadium was designed with the digital revolution in mind. The stadium was  future proofed with the necessary infrastructure and cabling so it could respond to ongoing future advances in technology. The roof design and material provided not only provide maximum weather protection, but also an improved television picture for the 4.5 billion television viewers who tuned in to the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics.

IMPACT. The Sydney 2000 Games were highly successful and often regarded as one of the best Olympic Games in history. ANZ stadium has provided a lasting legacy for Sydney and helped to regenerate an industrial area of the city, becoming the centrepiece of a new community.

ANZ Stadium was designed by a Populous joint venture, Bligh Lobb Sports Architecture.