Brisbane Lions Brighton Homes Arena
Springfield Central, Queensland, Australia
Brighton Homes Arena is the new home of the Brisbane Lions AFL and AFLW team.
Located in Springfield Central, 30km south-west of Brisbane, the 8,000 spectator capacity boutique arena includes training, administration and community facilities.
The centre features equal facilities for the men’s and women’s teams. It serves as a benchmark for the rapidly expanding women’s sports market while providing a state-of-the-art facility catering to its current and future football, administration, academy and community needs.
CHALLENGE. The Brisbane Lions is one of the younger teams in the AFL — only playing its inaugural season in 1997. And although the club has experienced major success, winning three Premiership Cups, it still lacked an appropriate stadium and training facilities for their women’s and men’s team to call home. The Brisbane Lions Brighton Homes Arena was a response to those needs. Designed from the start to provide equal facilities for AFL & AFLW, as well as the first dedicated AFLW Premiership arena in Australia.
“It makes us as female athletes feel really valued and knowing that we have that same respect that they give to the men.”
AFLW Brisbane Lions Premiership player Nat Grider
INNOVATION. The arena is the first purpose-built AFLW Premiership match facility in Australia. It features three distinct buildings arranged around the Michael Voss Oval to ensure uninterrupted views from within. These are the Elite Training Facility, the Community Facilities and the Grandstand.
Because of the buildings design, many multi-purpose spaces generate commercial revenue during event and non-event days, including the café, meeting rooms and the internal training field.
The elite training facility houses the Lions’ training and administration facilities. It features a rich design palette of earthy colours with natural textures such as timber, brick and traditional elements to enhance a sense of a warm, familiar place and identity. The football department occupies the entire ground level which optimises physical and visual connectivity and improves operational efficiencies between the AFLW and AFL teams and personnel. The 50m x 35m indoor training field, known as The Cage, provides a controlled training environment for the club, particularly during inclement weather or ground remediation.
In the level above, the football department staff – including coaches, analysts and administration – are in a large, open-style collaborative workspace. Direct sightlines to both the indoor training field and the oval allow the monitoring of players during training activities.
A standout feature of BHA is its unwavering commitment to accessibility, evident from its very perimeter. BHA incorporates signage and communications with visibility and legibility at the forefront. The selection of colour and contrasts caters to sensory needs, ensuring signage is easily discernible from a distance. Each wayfinding element forms part of a broader suite of signage which reflects the Club’s colours and branding to establish a clear identity upon entry to the precinct.
The continuous concourse, doubling as an exercise loop on non-event days, contributes to the overall patron experience. The large plaza and events lawn surrounding the facilities welcomes locals and visitors every day of the week, connecting the precinct with the train station, multi-story car parks, local bike paths and provides spaces for engagement with fans on event days.
The precinct setting and landscape plan responds to the notion of an “oval in a forest”, providing a continuation of the existing riparian corridor which connects back into the urban heart of Springfield. Natural grass berms wrapping around the northern end of Michael Voss Oval provide additional seating and enhance the boutique community parkland feel of the arena. The design also has a strong emphasis on creating a First Nations link through a proposed educational walking trail from within the precinct to the Hymba Yumba Independent School to the north.
“For elite female athletes to use the same state of the art facilities as a men’s team is a game-changer for sport”.
Federal Minister for Sport Anika Wells
IMPACT. The Brisbane Lions Brighton Homes Arena is a unique example of a sports and entertainment venue seamlessly integrating elite sporting and community-focused elements to create a destination precinct in an emerging urban environment.
The co-location of many aspects of the operation of the Club ensures greater opportunities to reinforce and grow a positive culture as well as for innovation and idea sharing across all areas of the Club’s operations. The co-location of key areas for the AFL and AFLW teams also created cost efficiencies for the project through considered planning of shared spaces.
Michael Voss Oval has capacity for 8,000 spectators now with the ability to create seating for 24,000 fans with the addition of an upper northern stand. It is listed as an IOC approved venue for the Ipswich region for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics and Paralympics.
The $80 million project was delivered in partnership with the Australian Government, Queensland Government, Ipswich City Council, AFL, and Brisbane Lions. It officially opened on 27 November 2022 when the Brisbane Lions AFLW advanced to the Grand Final, allowing the home team to host their inaugural game in their brand-new venue.
Brighton Homes Arena is a testament to the transformative potential of thoughtful design, inclusivity, and community integration in creating an exceptional sporting destination. It invites visitors to witness sporting events and become a part of something greater – a vibrant community space.
“After touring the facility…the playing, training and admin base is quite simply elite on every level, benefiting not only the Brisbane Lions, but more broadly women’s football and the pathways for junior footballers from across southern Queensland.”
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan
The Brisbane Lions Football Club formed in 1996 from the merger of the Melbourne-based Fitzroy Football Club and the Brisbane Bears Football Club. The design has taken to heart the need to weave together the long and proud history of the Fitzroy Football Club with the distinctly sub-tropical Queensland home of the Brisbane Lions. The Brunswick Street Oval, the Lions’ spiritual home in Fitzroy, was the early design inspiration for the Grandstand and its architectural elements. It includes the red brick and exposed concrete used across the site. The traditional timber “Queenslander’ family home’s high ceilings and wide verandas influenced the design inside and out.
In addition to the arena, the venue features the Elite Performance Centre, the Community Facilities and Grandstand. Because of the buildings’ design, many multi-purpose spaces can generate commercial revenue during event days; these are also available during the rest of the week. These spaces include the café, meeting rooms, and the internal training field.
Populous designed the arena to create a home for the Brisbane Lions and connect the club to the local community. The interior evokes a sense of belonging with materials such as brick, timber, and raw concrete. Tactility and warmth are elevated by using traditional archetypes of the Queenslander home and Melbourne worker’s cottage.
Populous knows that the Lions’ branding is essential to the wayfinding design by visually representing the characteristics of the club.
The wayfinding design concept draws upon the openness of the space at the reserve and its surroundings.
These incorporate consistency through the signage and the notion of it being permeable and branded through restraint.
Populous designed Brighton Homes Arena with environmental sustainability front of mind. It’s foremost for sustainability features among boutique stadiums in Australia.
The arena’s design is incorporated with a 200kWh photovoltaic solar system, connecting to a 5MW battery that can feed into the local energy grid. This arrangement will enhance the grid stability and enable sports lighting towers to operate via electricity generated during daylight hours, in an Australian first. Under the primary sports oval is a water harvesting profile that has captured up to 150,000 litres of rainwater during significant wet weather events for later use in irrigating the turf oval – a substantial reduction in irrigation from the town water supply. A recycled water supply and grey water recycling for sports amenities further reduce Arena’s water use.
The buildings celebrate Brisbane’s subtropical climate and effective use of passive cooling for the indoor training field, and ‘indoor streets and Queenslander-style decks further reduce the expanse of energy-hungry conditioned spaces.
This design includes extensive energy efficiency and water harvesting initiatives, with passive heating and cooling achieved through the wide use of verandas, high ceilings, louvre windows and covered terraces.
- Australian Institute of Architects QLD Brisbane Region Commendation for Commercial Architecture
- Master Builders Association Queensland Construction Award - Sporting Facilities (Hutchinson Builders)