Margaret Court Arena Redevelopment
Concerts, eSports, Tennis
Populous was commissioned by the Victorian Government, with joint venture architects NH Architecture, to design the new Margaret Court Arena. The arena was part of the Melbourne and Olympic Parks Masterplan which Populous co-designed with COX. The multi-purpose venue sits adjacent to Rod Laver Arena and has brought a new world-class tennis centre to the community, one that is known for its flexibility and capability to host events from sports to musical concerts.
CHALLENGE. A requirement of the arena redevelopment was that it could not impact on the Australian Open Grand Slam tournament, which is held at Melbourne and Olympic Parks each January. The construction, which took three years, included staged handovers for each interim Australian Open.
INNOVATION. The operable roof on Margaret Court Arena is the fastest closing roof in Australia. It can close completely in less than 5 minutes, which is 20 minutes faster than the Rod Laver Arena roof, meaning minimal disruption to play and a great benefit to the Australian Open. The innovative pleated roof profile reduces the structural depth of the roof and importantly reduces the visual bulk of the building.
The structure also provides the flexibility to fold the roof down to pedestrian level, overhanging on all sides of the building and providing shade to the surrounding concourse and public realm.
IMPACT. The development of the arena has added a new level of efficiency and flexibility to the precinct and means that during the Australian Open the main courts are not disrupted by extreme weather conditions, and there is greater connectivity to Rod Laver Arena.
The arena has large areas of glazing which maximises views to the surrounding precinct and parkland and exposes the internal architecture and spaces to passers-by. Furthermore, the venue features back-of-house access and courtside VIP seating to fully immerse fans in the event experience.
Since its debut, the venue has hosted a number of events as well as the tennis, including Australia’s biggest eSports tournament ever held in Australia in 2015. It has hosted home matches for Netball team Melbourne Vixens and Basketball team Melbourne United, and concerts at the arena include Delta Goodrem, Demi Lovato, Hilltop Hoods and Angus & Julia Stone.
- Architecture Award for Public Architecture, Victorian Architecture Awards
- LEED Gold
- Master Builder of the Year, Master Builders Association
- National Commendation: Public Architecture, National Architecture Awards
- Shortlisted, World Architecture Festival