The Home of the Matildas
Melbourne, VIC, Australia
Soccer, Training and Development
Architecture, Interior Design, Wayfinding
The CommBank Matildas’ purpose-built, elite training facility is the new home base for the Australian women’s football team as well as the permanent home for Football Victoria’s representative teams for men and women of all ages.
Located in Victoria’s La Trobe University Sports Park, it is the largest football-specific infrastructure project in Australia’s history, supported and embraced by the Victorian and Federal Government.
The facility provides a first of its kind elite training environment for the transient CommBank Matildas’ team with exclusive use whenever they are in camp. The facility also provides year-round access to elite training and match facilities for the junior and senior Victorian football community.
CHALLENGE. Designed for three major stakeholders of Football Victoria and Football Australia along with the partnership of La Trobe University, there was a shared vision to create a world-class facility that connected with elite, education and the community to become a ‘Football for All’ venue.
The facility was designed to provide a world-class elite training environment for the CommBank Matildas’ exclusive use whenever they are in camp and also be the permanent home for Football Victoria’s administration and representative teams for women and men of all ages; providing year-round access for young juniors, youth and elite teams with training and match facilities for the entire Victorian football community.
INNOVATION. The Home of the Matildas delivers an experience unparalleled in Australian football and has been designed with the aspiration of becoming the finest female-focused facility in the Asia Pacific, a living testament to Football Victoria’s goal of achieving gender equity in football by 2027.
As the Principal Design Consultant, Populous created a modern, centralised, gender neutral, facility to support a venue for players and officials of the ‘World Game’. The facility was designed with the intersection of universal design principles and designing for equity to deliver the project vision and unite a football organisation into a new home.
Spaces were designed to deliver solutions for equitable access and universal spaces for an age group from young children to elite. The mixed-use, flexible design shows that women’s teams don’t necessarily need different, stand-alone facilities, rather a commitment to equitable access which becomes a more efficient and affordable facility in the long-term.
Football Victoria will also be relocating to the brand new, state of the art offices at the precinct, bringing the football and administrative operations of the organisation together at a singular venue for the very first time.
The medical and rehabilitation facilities are located centrally to optimise their use by the playing group with increased levels of privacy to cater to players of all ages. The Football Victoria administration space is open plan to unify the admin body with its wider training, players and community operation groups. Through these adjacencies, the new facility nurtures the positive culture of the organisation, promoting a comfortable, non-hierarchical work environment for staff.
The multipurpose facility is designed for various capacities, scaling up or down for local tournaments through to major events. The Home of the Matildas will ultimately become the home base for all Victoria’s major football programs as part of the venue’s designation as the State Football Centre.
Five fields surround the main training and administration building with two community pavilions housing eight change rooms, each one includes flexible, gender-neutral spaces to cater up to 16 players and staff or convert into four larger change rooms for significant fixtures.
IMPACT. The Home of the Matildas has dedicated over 80 percent of the project to facilities that are accessible by the community for all levels of players to experience and train in a world class facility; a venue that comparable with world’s best facilities for female athletes of any code.
The facility offers an equal playing field for females in sport as officials, fans and players while fostering a deep sense of connection to our nation’s best women’s team.
As the Principal Design Consultant, Populous led a full design team of consultants, and delivered the architecture, interior design and wayfinding services for the project.