Punt Road Oval Redevelopment gives off a playful feeling, as it should be, situated around the Punt Road Oval, where the Tigers play for the Richmond Football Club. The playful, vibrant building is a fitting representation of Melbourne’s football pride.As well as providing a training facility for the Richmond Football Club, the redevelopment will provide an administrative headquarters to the club and additional community spaces. Punt Road Oval is the current training grounds for the Tigers and was the former venue of, what is now known as, the Australian Football League. A mere half-mile away (850 m) is the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where the Tigers play their home games. Thousands of spectators will come together in this general location to watch the Tigers play. The redevelopment has a responsibility to the Tigers, their fans, and the community in providing a building that speaks to their identity and loyalty.
From the architects: ‘dwp|suters were asked to develop a concept that balances the requirements of an elite level training facility, enables the business objectives of the club plus fosters public participation and engages the local community. Consequently the facility is designed to be visually permeable to enable fans to absorb the club’s rich history and to catch a glimpse of their team preparing for their next encounter.’The architects took a very the-people-have-spoken approach, receiving input from the community in the preliminary design stage and generally involving the public in the project. The result is a building that balances strength, boldness, and fun.
dw|suters worked with sculptor, Clement Meadmore, to produce a form that has the ‘athletic grace of the human body.’ The building pays homage to the Jack Dyer Stand, which was incorporated into the new building. The grandstand’s red brick becomes the ‘muscle’ beneath the façade. Their treatment of the existing grandstand makes it read as an extension of the club, rather than a separate building. The two are read as one. It is a beautiful relationship between what is there and what is new, a theme seen throughout the project. While the grandstand is the ‘muscle,’ the façade with the club colors becomes the skin.
dw|suters describe the program: ‘The new Richmond Football club houses the Korin Gamadji Institute, which is the training centre for indigenous youth and will be a life skills centre offering vocation training and VET courses. Given the multiple uses, the redevelopment evolved from an ethos of co-location which enriches its programmatic function, with areas dedicated to football use, community use and majority of space dedicated as flexible areas able to be programmed for use by all parties at different times.’
The Punt Road Oval Redevelopment is a space that brings people together, a place for the people. The new development is a reassertion of the existing culture, simply an improvement of conditions and refinement of space. With its delicate considerations and bold but fun articulations, it is truly a reflection of its function.
By: Aiysha Alsane