Margaret Court Arena, Victoria

Market SectorSporting
CompletionOctober 2014
Project Value$175 million
ClientMajor Projects Victoria
ArchitectNH Architecture in partnership with Populous
ProductStratopanel seamless perforated plasterboard

A Masterplan for sporting excellence

In a city where sport forms a major part of the local culture, providing world-class facilities is just par for the course.

Major Projects Victoria has a master plan for the Melbourne Park redevelopment to provide an innovative multipurpose, internationally competitive sports venue for year-round use, starting with the major upgrade of the Margaret Court Tennis Arena.

The brief for this upgrade was to create a new façade, a retractable roof, a fully enclosed foyer and concourse area, an increase in capacity by 1,500 from 6,000 to 7,500 and to improve the facilities for players as well as patrons.

“The finished venue has caused a major buzz and a lot of discussion,” says Mieke Vinju, Services Coordinator at NH Architecture.

“Mainly because of the retractable roof and how quickly it can close, even beginning when play is still going.”

With the fastest operating retractable roof in the world, having the ability to be fully closed within five minutes, the venue is certainly seen as setting the standard in sporting venues. However, the other aspects of the upgrade are the silent partners in providing a high quality venue that can now be used beyond tennis, ensuring that the community gets value out of having these facilities on the doorstep.

One of the areas of focus for the refurbishment was the public concourse, which is a very large public space. With hard surfaces on the walls and floor, this space has high reverberation, especially during times of major tennis matches or concerts, with large crowds congregating at one time. This meant that special attention needed to be given to the ceiling to try and lessen the reverberation in this space.

Mieke explained that they needed to create as much ceiling coverage as possible for this area. “and it needed to be covered with an acoustic perforated material to provide a softening of the space” says Mieke.

When Mieke was assessing the options for product specification in this area, she determined that Stratopanel was the best option, due to its high performance in noise reduction combined with its aesthetic quality that fitted well with the design.

“We met with the Knauf technical and sales teams on site to get their advice about the product and how it would work for the space. Because of the elaborate nature of the ceiling design a separate set of drawings was created for the plasterers.” The drawings ensured that the panels were used as efficiently as possible and minimised the amount of waste produced throughout the installation process.

”Getting advice from the Knauf team on how to utlise the product in this very tricky area was invaluable.”

The decision to use Stratopanel was based equally on aesthetics as well as performance.

“The perforations on Stratopanel are regular and go all the way to the edge of the sheet. Along with the access panels integrating into the design, this provided a seamless finish. And as the board is also thicker than others that are available, this resulted in a nicer finish.”

Following discussions with the Knauf technical team who provided detailed advice and guidance on how to apply the product to the floating ceilings in the area, the product was easily applied by the tradespeople with pleasing results.

The finished building is a new, state-of- the-art, multi-purpose sporting facility that was officially handed over to the client in October 2014, ready for its first successful use at the Australian Open in the summer of 2015.