Mixing 150 years of tradition with innovation in stadium design

Melbourne Cricket Ground

  • Melbourne, Australia
  • 2005

CHALLENGE. The Melbourne Cricket Ground is one of the oldest and largest capacity sporting grounds in the world. It has great historic and spiritual significance as the home of Australian cricket and the main venue for Australian Rules Football. In 2006, the MCG underwent a significant redevelopment to 60% of the grounds. As part of a team of five architectural practices involved in the redevelopment, Populous faced the great challenge of ensuring the stadium was designed to meet current standards, whilst maintaining the ground’s inherited traditions. The redevelopment was completed over five stages and took three years.

INNOVATION. The MCG attracts a varied mix of stakeholders, from AFL, Cricket, Rugby League and Soccer. Amongst each of these sporting codes there exists a variety of membership opportunities. This varied mix of needs and interested provided a challenge when designing entrances for each stakeholder group. Populous created three main atrium entrances and meeting points within the stadium to provide stakeholders with their own exclusive entry.

The redeveloped stadium features seven new bars and restaurants providing a total of 5,000 dining seats – 3,800 of which have views to the pitch. The outstanding function spaces offer spectacular views of the city skyline and over the stadium itself. The world famous Long Room has also returned to the Members Pavilion.

IMPACT. The MCG is known the world over as one of the greatest Cricket venues in the world, and in Australia is the home of AFL – this redevelopment has helped the stadium maintain its respected position. The redevelopment was also a way to make the stadium more visible, further integrating it into its urban context, and providing a stadium for the people. As the saying goes, “there may be more to Melbourne than the Melbourne Cricket Ground. But nothing means more to Melbourne.”

Populous was commissioned to provide full architectural services for the redevelopment of the MCG as part of MCG5 Sports Architects – a joint venture between Populous, Daryl Jackson Architects, Hassell, Cox Architects and TS&E.