The new Western Sydney Stadium in Parramatta, known as Bankwest Stadium, delivers the ultimate in a live sports experience with the design of its seating bowl taking intensity and atmosphere to a new level. The 30,000-seat rectangular stadium is part of the New South Wales Government’s strategy to recognise the expansion and growing importance of Sydney’s West.
CHALLENGE: Western Sydney has a strong sporting base and tradition in both Rugby League and Football (Soccer) and the project aimed to create the best possible venue to watch the game live. At the same time, the stadium needed to belong to the wider community, so deliberate efforts have been made to ensure it is as family friendly as possible, as well as a distinctive landmark for Western Sydney.
INNOVATION: The stadium’s premium product is designed with Western Sydney’s more egalitarian nature in mind and includes Australia’s first continuous suite deck allowing for a social in-bowl “balcony” experience to make the most of Sydney’s great climate. Another innovation includes Australia’s first rectangular stadium field suite, bringing fans closer to their teams.
There is also a family seating zone, roughly twice the size of the previous family stand, with direct connections to a Kids’ Zone and nearby family activation areas.
A new conferencing and banqueting centre can be adapted from the western premium stand to provide a new conferencing and banqueting centre for the City of Parramatta to enable the greatest possible use of the venue on non-event days.
IMPACT: The stadium opened in April 2019 and since then more than 500,000 fans have passed through the turnstiles to witness sport and entertainment events.
An additional 27,000 visitors have attended functions, business meetings, community or cultural events in the same time period, and there are a further 36 sport and entertainment events already locked in for 2020, including historic first concerts featuring Cold Chisel and Hoodoo Gurus in January, and Elton John in March.
Independent economic analysis conducted for the City Council has shown that Bankwest Stadium is bringing a financial benefit of nearly $1 million to Parramatta each time an event is held at the Stadium.
Bankwest Stadium was designed to be an identifiable symbol for Western Sydney, a venue that not only provides the best possible experience to watch live sport, but is flexible and multi-functional enough to be used by the community all year round.
The seating bowl brings spectators as close as possible to the field of play while also providing the best viewing quality. The 360-degree continuous bowl, which is at the steepest permissible angle, totally encloses the field of play with a wall of fans. When combined with the specially-designed roof, where fabric is mounted on the underside of the structure, these features enhance the acoustics, heighten the intensity and create a great atmosphere.
For the first time in Australia, there are convertible safe standing positions in the North Stand. This provides standing positions for the active home football fan during the season, and converts to seats for rugby fans in winter.
Inspired by Sydney’s great climate and the spectator experience, the interior materials and finishes of Bankwest Stadium were based on an Australian backyard summer, evoking an entertaining, suburban context within the stadium.
The concourse and kiosk draw inspiration from a ‘backyard summer’ with grand open spaces in a robust, natural material palette contrasting against a striking charcoal blockwork. Permeable facades of timber-look slat screens draw the patron’s eye to the parkland vistas and city skyline surrounding the stadium.
The social lounges and premium function rooms are themed ‘veranda life’ with generous bowl side terraces along with multiple configurations of entertaining spaces that adapt to different football codes and events, a first for an Australian stadium.
The finishes in the corporate boxes and suites are based on ‘summer refinement’ with a herringbone patterned carpet, blonde timber joinery and bronze anodised-look façade to the entries.
The Director’s lounge draws on a ‘modern country house’ interior theme with blonde timber finishes, a larger open terrace, a la carte kitchen and the best seats in the house, all ensuring a premium corporate hospitality experience.
The lobbies, pre-function, back of house and player areas allow for neutral tones to give flexibility and identity to the spaces depending on the team colours or special events occurring in the stadium.
In the seating bowl of the stadium, the speckled grading seat pattern starts dark at the field line and grades to light at the top to help lift the eye to the roofline.
As the ‘People’s Venue’, the journey to and from Bankwest Stadium is ultimately about the fan. No matter if you are attending a sporting event, a function, using the facilities for training, staff working within it or simply walking through the parkland.
The approach to the wayfinding strategy ensured Populous delivered the best live sport experience in Australia, creating an enjoyable environment to maximise engagement so the experience is part of the show.
The wayfinding services on Bankwest Stadium extended across ticket design to stadium circulation, entrance gates, concourse and digital signage, aisle identification, food and beverage banners, seat naming, numbering and directional signage to premium event spaces and lobbies.
The design intent for the primary level directional signage is taken from the steel structure of the stadium, providing a strong identification for patrons. Signs are double-sided with digital screens to support wayfinding on entry while promoting upcoming event messages on exit.
Wayfinding signage is important at all of these points to assist people in finding their destination, additionally while the stadium is under maximum use during large international games, where temporary wayfinding was also incorporated into event overlay.
- Good Design Australia Gold Award (Architectural Design Commercial and Residential)
- Consult Australia Project Team Collaboration Award
- Australian Institute of Architects National Commendation for Steel Architecture
- Australian Steel Institute NSW Steel Excellence Award 2020 for ‘Large Projects’
- Master Builders of Australia NSW Awards for the Sporting Stadiums and Excellence in Environment categories
- National Restaurant and Catering Awards for Best Venue Cater – outcome pending on 7th December.
- NSW Architecture Awards Commercial Architecture
- NSW Architecture Awards COLORBOND(R) Award for Steel Architecture
- NSW Architecture Awards People's Choice Award Life in 2020 "Post-Iso Party"
- LEED Gold v4 Certification for Sustainability – US Green Building Council
- Silver Medal - StadiumDB.com Stadium of the Year Awards
- Project of the Year (Joint Winner) – BOOMTOWN! Property & Infrastructure Awards
- Outstanding Sports & Major Events Project – BOOMTOWN! Property & Infrastructure Awards
- Australia’s Best Rectangular Stadium – Austadiums Stadium Of The Year Awards