Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Australian Football, Concerts, Cricket, Soccer
Architecture, Master Planning, Interior Design
GMHBA Stadium (formerly Simonds Stadium), at Kardinia Park, is the home of the Geelong Cats AFL team and has been a part of the urban fabric of the City of Greater Geelong for almost 75 years. The jewel of Kardinia Park is GMHBA Stadium, the home of Geelong Football Club and host of more than 90 local, national and international events each year, attracting more than 400,000 visitors. Although best known for AFL, the Stadium is a truly multi-purpose venue and its diverse facilities have been used for a range of elite and community level sports and events.
The existing stadium site was made up of a number of stands built over 40 years so the challenge was to redevelop in several stages following the development of a new masterplan in 2001. Populous has been involved for more than a decade beginning with Stage 2 – the Redevelopment of the Ross Drew Stand.
Our goal has been to create elite training and administrative facilities for Geelong Football Club, whilst maximising community usage and commercial benefits derived from such a significant recreational asset. Stage 2 included a 5000 seat capacity grandstand, player training and rehabilitation facilities, better corporate facilities, better disabled spectator facilities and new administration facilities for the Cats.
The third stage, completed in 2013, saw the demolition of a number of buildings and the development of a new southern stand, the Players’ Stand. Capacity at the stadium increased to 33,500 and included upgrading public concourse linkages, improved Members’ facilities and a range of better public facilities as well as a ‘Community Wellness and Education Centre’.
In late 2014, the Victorian Government confirmed its support and funding for the ongoing redevelopment of the Brownlow and Jennings Stands on the Western Side of the ground, which also became the ‘front door’ of the stadium and the entry point for the majority of spectators and visitors.
INNOVATION: As well as the integration of every stage into the overall masterplan, the development has led the way in spectator experience at community stadia. One of the most innovative features of the Stage 4 development is the Fan Portal in the new stand, a world first for fans and those who want to feel a part of the players’ pre and post-game activities. A 45m² glass ceiling to the players’ kick-up space provides an exciting and highly connected visual and audible experience above, with visitors to the Portal having a sensational overhead view to pre-match warm-ups, post-game warm-downs and media interviews.
In addition, GMHBA Stadium now has a new social club; new training, administration and players facilities; world-class facilities for the media and broadcasters and the Sunrise Centre – a facility aimed at enabling and assisting people with a disability in returning to work.
IMPACT. GMHBA Stadium plays an important role within the community, elite training facilities and the redevelopment has created the opportunity for the city of attract major sporting events. These include the Big Bash 2020 Cricket and international games by Australia women’s national football team, the Matildas who played China in 2017 at the stadium.
The outcome has reinforced the venue’s reputation as a great sports hub, Victoria’s third national multi-purpose stadium and Australia’s best regional stadium, capable of holding a wide variety of events, including football, rugby, cricket, soccer matches as well as music concerts.
- Best Commercial Building - The Master Builders Association Construction Awards