Etihad Stadium

Melbourne

  • Services

    Architecture, Urban Design

  • Building Activities

    Australian Football, Concerts, Cricket, Rugby, Soccer

  • Location

    Australia/Oceania

  • Completion

    2000

Etihad Stadium is situated in the redeveloped Docklands precinct on the edge of Melbourne’s CBD. It is a landmark stadium for the city, as well as a catalyst for the regeneration of the Docklands area. The AUD $460M integrated urban stadium development was designed with event flexibility as a key component in the design, to attract a full range of sports and entertainment events.

CHALLENGE. Etihad Stadium was privately financed, so, the state-of-the-art venue was designed for maximum event flexibility and commercial sustainability outside of game day. This led to the development of a multi-entertainment zone which featured restaurants, bars, gaming rooms, a nightclub, radio station and television studio – all of which can be accessed from inside or outside the stadium – creating an event experience seven days a week.

The stadium sits within a tight site also creating a range of design challenges. Limited space meant that 2,500 car parks had to be built underneath the stadium. There was also the development of a sophisticated public transport system linking the stadium to shops, restaurants and hotels.

  • Previously a dormant wasteland of Melbourne, the Docklands was seen as the perfect location for Etihad Stadium, with ready-made access to existing public transport and roads.

    The Government initially conveyed its support for the development by building bridges to the city and committing to the redevelopment of Southern Cross station. The Docklands continues to expand with the ongoing development of apartments, shopping centres, restaurants and bars, as well as tram and train access.

INNOVATION. The 53,000 seat stadium boasts the first retractable roof and moving tier technology in a stadium in the Southern Hemisphere, combined with a natural turf playing surface. The moving tier technology means multi-functionality, intimacy and flexibility for both sport and entertainment, maximizing the experiences of all spectators, no matter what the type of event. The roof, which maintains protection to 98% of patrons even when fully open, can be closed in 20 minutes.

Smart seats have been installed in the Medallion Club, where every seat has a video replay monitor fitted into the extended arm of the seats, and feature 8 channels capable of showing instant replays, player profiles, movies and news.

IMPACT. Etihad Stadium was a keystone development for the regeneration of the Docklands precinct. The closing roof fundamentally affected the nature of the live spectator experience. Its impact on providing spectator comfort, creating atmosphere and containing light and noise breakout, is immense.

The venue was deliberately designed for flexibility to attract a full range of sports and entertainment events. The fact that it has the tightest bowl possible for AFL, means it is also suited for rugby union, enhanced by its fully closing roof which traps the sound, adding to the intensity of the experience.

Etihad Stadium has hosted some of the biggest international sporting events such as International Rugby Union tests, UFC193, Speedway Grand Prix, AFL Grand Finals and Soccer World Cup Qualifiers. The venue has also held many memorable musical acts including Taylor Swift, Foo Fighters, Justin Timberlake, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Andre Rieu, Eminem, Coldplay and Adele.

Etihad Stadium was designed by a Populous joint venture – Bligh Lobb Sports Architecture and Daryl Jackson Pty Ltd.

Awards
2001
Australian Master Builders Award
Project Team

Paul Henry

Andrew James

Rod Sheard

Dale Jennins