Metricon Stadium: designed for transformation
By: Chris Paterson
Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast is being transformed as part of the venue’s original master plan, allowing it to flex and grow temporarily to host international calibre events, and return again easily to provide the great Gold Coast welcome that affords AFL fans throughout the season.
Populous’ future-proofed the venue by ensuring flexibility and adaptability in the plan, allowing for major music concerts and community events right through to major international athletics or cricket. According to Populous Senior Principal Chris Paterson, forward thinking was pivotal to the master plan, as the legacy concept has always been to transform Metricon Stadium from the home of the Gold Coast SUNS and to return it to its original capacity of 25,000 seats afterwards.
“We ran a number of workshops to test that the precinct could work for major events. We also considered how an athletics track could be accommodated with only minor adjustments to the structure, and without impacting the AFL experience. This included doing sight-line studies, temporary seating layouts and pedestrian movement extrapolations”.
The masterplan led to Metricon’s horseshoe shaped design, to allow for the easy installation of temporary grandstands. “The majority of the seats will be in the northern stand and the scoreboard will be removed. This ensures that there will be no ongoing or unnecessary costs incurred by the operator once a major event is over”, explained Paterson.
Current transformations include increasing the capacity to accommodate for 35,000 people using 9,500 temporary extra seats; as well as excavating the entire playing surface to support elite track and field events up to International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) standards. The northern stand has been temporarily removed to make way for the track and the AFL training field to the north west of the stadium will be converted to a warm-up track.
As the eyes of the world will focus on the venue during international events, the transformation also has to meet additional media and broadcast requirements, using temporary overlay facilities.
The combination of a robust and well thought-out masterplan centred around a flexible stadium creates a great legacy for the local community. Permanent facilities are developed and added to over time, as the community’s needs change and grow, while temporary infrastructure allows for a wide range of different events to be staged at lower costs to the event organisers and the operators.
International music concerts such as the Big Day Out in 2014 headlined by Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters in 2011 which, with more than 38,000 excited fans was one of the largest concerts ever staged on the Gold Coast, have already showcased the adaptability of Metricon Stadium.