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Perth, Western Australia
Size
Overall ground area 
58,700m
2
Capacity
21,824 seats (can be 
increased to 24,500 for 
higher capacity matches)
Opening
1895, first grandstand with 
500 seats
Construction 
cost
n/a
Amenities
High Performance Cricket 
Training Centre, Potential/
Optional Health Club?
Architect
Cox Architecture
MCG Southern Stand 
Redevelopment
Melbourne, Victoria
Size
55,000m2 GFA
Capacity
44,000 seats
Opening
redevelopment completed 
April 2013
Construction 
cost
$41 Million
Amenities
AFL members amenities 
include Hadyn Bunton 
Sports Bar, Barassi café, 
AFL dining room, Wills 
room and the Premiership 
Club. Hassett, Miller and 
Ryder rooms are corporate 
hire rooms. New entry 
gates, upgrade to food 
concession on level 1 and 
level B1. General concourse 
upgrades to all levels and 
BOH and toilet facilities
Architect
Cox Architecture
Adelaide Oval, Sydney Cricket 
Ground, MCG and the WACA 
are pioneering a new era for 
Australian cricket grounds.
Adelaide oval
Adelaide, South Australia
Size
68,000m
2
 GFA
Capacity
50,000 seats
Opening
first opened 1871, new 
redevelopment completed 
in Dec 2013
Construction 
cost
$450m
Amenities
700 seat William Magarey 
Room, 1450 seat Stadium 
Club,  
200 seat Cathedral Dining 
Room, 3x100 suites, 2x 
80 suites,  
100 seat BBQ Terrace, 1x 
36 suite, 34x 18 suites, 
18x 12 suites, Level 1 and 
Level 5 public food courts
Architect
Cox Architecture

34
Samantha Cotterell of DESIGNSPORT answers our questions about the 
company’s work in countries that are becoming the new power houses of sport.
DESIGNSPORT has worked primarily 
in ‘emerging economies’ which have 
been winning all the major events. 
What is DESIGNSPORT’s take on 
working in such countries?
DESIGNSPORT was not specifically 
targeting emerging economies but the 
opportunities we embraced provided 
us with a rich experience that became 
instantly marketable. We started our 
journey working on the Athens Olympic 
Games when Greece was still not part of 
the European Union. We then moved to 
Qatar to work on the Doha Asian Games 
when Qatar was but a sleepy desert 
town with a grand ambition and then 
to India to deliver the Commonwealth 
Games which transformed Delhi into a 
21st Century city. We now have a proven 
track record of delivering in ‘emerging 
Athens Olympic Park – main precinct 
for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games
DESIGNSPORT has 
won the international 
architecture competition 
to design the National 
Stadium of Addis 
Ababa with partners 
LAVA Architects and 
JDAW Consulting.
DESIGNSPORT is based in Qatar and 
from this geographically favourable 
position we are able to manage our 
projects across three continents 
including work in India and now Ethiopia 
where we have won the international 
architecture competition to design 
the National Stadium of Addis Ababa 
with our partners LAVA Architects and 
JDAW Consulting.
How do you help cities realise their 
aims when bidding – is there a 
process that you follow or is every 
case different?
A bidding city can be compared to 
the conductor of an orchestra at the 
beginning of his or her career! The 
conductor will need to learn how to unify 
performers, set the tempo, execute 
economy’ conditions and have devised a 
successful strategy for doing so.
It is our experience that a major event 
is a matter of national pride and 
that hence the local people deliver it 
best. What are needed are guidance, 
mentoring and supervision. Taking this 
approach has allowed us to develop 
close ties with local sport and business 
communities and has allowed us to 
devise a working methodology that 
transcends culture and language.
The extreme challenges presented by 
a developing or emerging economy 
mean that the struggles faced are far 
outweighed by the rewards received – 
carving a path through the layers and 
complexities of the unknown provides 
opportunities for both personal and 
professional growth and achievement.
Sport cities
The Doha 2006 Asian 
Games broke new ground in 
terms of sports facilities.

35
www.psam.uk.com
clear preparations and listen critically 
and shape the sound of the ensemble. In 
order to achieve this, among the many 
skills required, he or she also requires the 
teachings and advice of knowledgeable 
and experienced professionals who came 
before him or her.
The team at DESIGNSPORT supports 
bidding cities by providing this kind of 
support and strategic advice.
Sport architecture and event design are 
not merely concerned with the design 
of stadiums but rather with the broader 
field of knowledge associated with a 
country’s ambition to develop through 
and in sport. The field is a cross-cultural, 
multi-disciplinary industry, which 
includes and requires the understanding 
of government strategies and policies, 
major infrastructure development, 
stakeholder groups, permanent 
and temporary building forms and 
technologies and much, much more.
Engaging sport architects with 
operational experience as overlay 
designers at the front end of a project 
allows the event owners to take 
advantage of specialised know-how and 
expertise that will save significant cost 
while also contributing to innovative, 
intelligent solutions to their project. Of 
course these will differ case by case.
At DESIGNSPORT, what's your take 
on the modern city bid for a major 
international sporting event? And is it 
a good investment?
That's a very subjective and complex 
question.
I think that cities should consider 
sports-led urban development as a 
catalyst for designing better living 
spaces and with the ultimate aim of being 
able to possibly accommodate a major 
event – winning the rights to host the 
event would be the proverbial ‘cherry 
on the cake’ rather than the challenging 
and often cumbersome task that 
governments need to accommodate and 
eventually justify. At the moment, sport 
and sport infrastructure are usually an 
afterthought, which creates an onerous 
load on the city that decides to bid for 
a major event. I think that any given 
city should plan its sport infrastructure 
in line with a national strategy for 
development of sport as part of an 
overall vision.
In the case of Qatar, the country’s 
leadership was insightful enough to 
commission a countrywide masterplan 
that sets out the future development 
of sport facilities and infrastructure 
in the country in line with the National 
Development Strategy. The study 
evaluates the city’s requirements for 
eventually hosting an Olympic Games 
but proposes how to use this study 
simply as a catalyst for developing a 
more liveable and sustainable city. I 
was personally the local lead designer 
on this project under Populous and 
have since been providing advisory 
services for the development of these 
plans in a ‘design guardian’ role to 
entities providing the roll-out plans 
for implementation. This is a proactive 
approach to legacy and a positive 
approach to the notion of investment 
associated with ambitions for hosting 
major events.
I think that bidding for major events 
has become a disconnected process 
from the ideals of the event itself and 
that, as professionals in the field, we 
are being called to find new answers to 
your question.
Workers on the 
Commonwealth 
Games stadium.
Opening ceremony for the 
Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
What's the relationship between 
a city's sport masterplan and 
sports architecture? Aren't the 
two often at odds? How can a city 
make a meaningful contribution on 
both accounts?
A sport masterplan is a framework 
for the development of the sport 
infrastructure of a city while sport 
architecture relates to the design of a 
venue that will host a sporting event – 
the two are completely different tasks 
yet must not be at odds with each other.
While the task of masterplanning is 
concerned with the planning of cities 
in line with its strategic political and 
economic ambitions, sport architecture 
is the visual manifestation of that 
country’s abilities and ambition. I 
think that the architecture itself has a 
responsibility to say something about its 
time while proposing something about 
its future – the artistic representation of 
its historical moment. 
By virtue of their scale, stadiums are 
major engineering projects in which, too 
often, artistic expression is sacrificed 
in favour of the engineering solution. At 
DESIGNSPORT we make it our priority 
to work with design partners and 
engineers who are passionate about the 
artistic value of our buildings and the 
spaces we design at both ends of the 
scale – masterplan and venue. n
showcase
architecture
Sport cities
For more information,  
visit www.designsport.org

36
PANSTADIA & ARENA MANAGEMENT WINTER 2013/14
  Facilitating change and embracing the temporary in the design
 
of Sochi Ol
ympic S
tadium – Fisht.
 At Populous – we
like a challenge!
I
n the summer of 2011 the decision 
was made to look at the creation of a 
temporary roof over the Fisht stadium 
in order to guarantee ‘studio’ conditions 
for the opening and closing ceremonies 
of the Winter Olympic Games. Together 
with the temporary roof there would be 
a requirement for very large temporary 
‘staging’ structures, christened the 
‘hangars’ at the north and south ends of 
the stadium.
Almost one year later after an extensive 
design evaluation process involving 
presentations to the highest levels of the 
government of the Russian federation, 
the team assembled from the world’s 
most experienced show designers 
and producers and event architects, 
populous included, finally got the go-
ahead to develop the design and procure 
the construction. Everybody involved 
agreed that this new direction posed a 
challenge, but a challenge that we were 
equal to and excited to engage with.
Ceremonial staging
Much earlier, at the beginning of the 
project design stages in late 2009 and 
early 2010, Populous worked closely 
with the ceremonies department of the 
Sochi 2014 organising committee to 
refine the brief that had been devolved 
prior to the design competition being 
launched for the stadium design in 2009.
The ceremonies department had in mind 
a stadium design that could facilitate 
a range of staging options in line with 
recent Olympic Games opening and 
closing ceremonies.
In our response to the original 
competition brief, Populous created a 
three-sided stadium design that would 
provide good enclosure and shelter from 
the sea side (south), enclosure on the 
long (east and west) sides and openness 
to the centre of the Olympic park on 
the north end, where the Populous 
masterplan had envisioned the main 
cauldron and medals plaza to be located.
Games and World Cup 
in prospect
Populous, together with Buro Happold, 
created a roof structure and a floor 
structure underneath the field of play  
Fisht stadium will be the world’s largest 
(temporary) theatre for the opening and 
closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympic 
Games in February 2014.

37
www.psam.uk.com
showcase
architecture
Fisht stadium is 
already an icon in 
Russia. After the 
Games, the image 
will go worldwide.

to facilitate a range of staging options, 
including the suggestion for the ability 
for a dramatic flying arrangement for 
the culmination of the opening and 
closing ceremonies – namely a ‘flying’ 
cauldron emerging from the sea and 
coming to rest in the middle of the 
Olympic park.
We designed the lower seating tier 
to take on an extensive series of 
demountable structures including eight 
tunnels each nine metres wide and a 
fully demountable northern section of 
the lower tier to enable a large-scale 
staging operation in that section of the 
seating bowl.
Together with this, and in line with the 
capacity expectations approaching 
40,000 seats, the middle and upper 
tiers on the south and north ends were 
designed to be added later, after the 
Olympic Games. This was because, in 
legacy, the stadium needed to comply 
with the requirements of the FIFA World 
Cup for group games and possibly a 
quarter final game also. That meant a 
gross capacity of 45,000. 
This legacy requirement also meant 
delivering all of the sport and other 
infrastructure required to operate a 
FIFA-compliant international standard 
football stadium at this scale. And, in 
addition, it meant that we had to provide 
significant flexible spaces with the 
curtilage of the stadium for the Olympic 
overlay also.
Thinking bigger
As mentioned above, by the middle of 
the year 2011, after construction was 
well under way on site, the ceremonies 
department asked Populous to 
re-imagine the stadium design for an 
expanded ceremonies provision for the 
Sochi Games. 
The head of the main broadcasting 
network in Russia, channel one, and 
a top flight creative team vastly 
experienced in large scale productions 
were enlisted in a very short period 
of time and directed to think on a 
much larger scale. Their thinking was 
directed by the constraints that had to 
be identified, but Populous were very 
excited by the potential to achieve 
something entirely new in terms 
of stadium design to facilitate the 
expanded ceremonies idea.
Obviously such relatively late re-thinking 
posed certain risks and a total buy-in 
from all stakeholders was necessary. 
Fortunately, all involved immediately 
saw the potential of the new ideas and 
the team moved forward rapidly to 
realise the new design.
Supporting larger 
ceremony
Such a large scale re-think resulted 
in a growing awareness that in order 
to capture the potential of the vast 
volumes of the stadium to the full, there 
would be a significant risk of such a vast 
production being adversely affected by 
inclement weather and that, therefore, 
the entirely normal and usual design of 
the stadium roof would need a radical 
re-think.
Fortunately, Populous had designed 
significant live loading capacity in the 
stadium roof structure already under 
construction and measures to further 
strengthen the structure were still 
possible given the stage of construction 
at that time.
As a result the temporary roof structure 
now constructed bears directly on the 
permanent roof and all live loading, 
including allowances for seismic loads 
and other dynamic loading cases, were 
also catered for. No further support 
systems were required and the roof 
retains its large span characteristics with 
no column or other support structure 
obstructions to the seating bowl.
Temporary theatre
The live loading of the temporary roof 
structure is significant with the roof 
essentially being a large-scale fly-
tower with staging structures at either 
end essentially delivering the world’s 
largest theatre, at least on a temporary 
basis. Together with this technically 
sophisticated roof, the field of play is 
covered with a large staging system 
containing the ‘underworld’ of back of 
house staging spaces which will deliver 
a similar level of staging flexibility as 
to that afforded by the roof and staging 
structures at either end.
The vast temporary structures do not 
end there: in the ceremonies compound 
is another huge hangar structure that is 
currently used for rehearsals and will be 
used for the pre-staging requirements 
for the main shows.
Altogether, this infrastructure facilitates 
a ceremonies show on a scale never 
seen before, utilising custom-designed 
technology that promises to astound and 
entertain in equal measure the worldwide 
audience come 7 February 2014. n
showcase
  architecture
38
PANSTADIA & ARENA MANAGEMENT WINTER 2013/14
Author: Damon Lavelle,  
Principal at Populous.

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PANSTADIA & ARENA MANAGEMENT WINTER 2013/14
40
How much interest is there in finding 
energy-efficient solutions in sports architecture? 
Very little, it seems, says Sven-Ake Wikers, 
Managing Director of ArenaProjekt.
Efficient 
at thinking 
efficiently
“I
t’s time we moved out of 
our comfort zone when it 
comes to sports architecture! 
So says Sven-Ake Wikers, an 
arena developer of many years’ 
standing and Managing Director of 
ArenaProjekt in Sweden. He gives 
an example:

A hockey arena is a challenging 
building to design as you have two 
systems working against each 
other: lighting that generates heat 
versus ice that needs to be cooled 
and has to be boosted with extra 
refrigeration from below.
But there are ways to reduce the 
effects of the above. By using LED 
lighting, which emits heat to the 
ceiling instead of following the 
direction of the light, you can have 
an immediate effect on reducing 
costs. And as LED lighting only 
sends heat upwards, it is easy to 
handle and convert to another, 
usable form of energy.
In addition, LED lighting has more 
than double the lifespan and is 
significantly more efficient than 
fluorescent lamps and other 
traditional light sources.

An arena that has been carefully 
designed from the point of view of 
energy conservation will pay for 
itself in five years,” says Wikers, 
and continues with the following 
advice. “Are you designing a match 
rink that will be used 15 hours 
a week or a training rink used 
60 hours a week? Are matches 
going to be broadcast on TV? All 
these things need to be taken into 
consideration.
Even the ice itself is a major energy 
thief. More venues have to start 
cooling with carbon dioxide (CO
2
), 
not least to improve the quality 
of the ice produced. The pump 
work requires only a tenth of 
conventional brine consumption. In 
addition, the ice can be maintained 
at a higher temperature which 
reduces the amount of work 
required of the compressor – and 
saves even more energy.
All in all, Wikers estimates that an 
ice rink can save 150,000 kWh of 
electricity a year, not least because 
an ice system with carbon dioxide 
produces excess energy that can 
be allocated to other areas within 
the facility. 
So what is preventing us from 
developing more energy-efficient 
arenas? Wikers has a theory:

When I’m out working on projects 
around the world, I find that 
there’s a slightly higher degree 
of cost awareness in northern 
Europe. People are more likely to 
think in the long term and see the 
difference between operating costs 
and investment.
So it’s really a matter of maturity, 
but Wikers believes in the 
industry and predicts that more 
and, in particular, major players 
will have their eyes opened 
to the importance of energy 
saving, not least for the sake of 
the environment.

And in terms of climate change, 
the effects can be enormous. 
Carbon dioxide has a GWP (global 
warming potential) of 1, while for 
other refrigerants the figure is 
between 1300 and 3260! If you’re 
aware of this, there should no 
longer be any doubt in your mind 
about which choice you make, 
Wikers concludes.
Sven-Ake Wikers puts questions to a 
panel at the IAKS conference in Cologne.

www.psam.uk.com
41
email katie@aladltd.co.uk to pre-register
showcase
CONSTRUCTION 
& engineering
Sven-Ake Wikers’ tips:
Do a Life Cycle Cost Calculation (LCC): 
spread over the life of the building, the 
initial additional investment is insignificant.
Use copper pipes combined with carbon 
dioxide for the ice rink: they are easy to 
use, have an unparalleled service life and 
lower operating costs.
Think about the world situation: energy 
prices are almost certain to rise.
Madison Square Garden.

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