Get Court Up! Australian Open 2014 and expansion plans beyond

It's that time of year again when the Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific region rolls into town bringing with it hot weather, tourists and the world's best players to the blue Plexicushion hard courts of Melbourne Park.  The city is abuzz as it's engulfed by a carnival-like atmosphere whilst work places are full of bleary eyed employees who were up until the early hours of the day watching their heroes battle it out. 

The slogan for this year's tournament is 'Get Court Up' so as a first year Australian Open member and all-round sports enthusiast I decided to do just that.  My last visit to the Open was back in 2012 - before Stage 1 redevelopment works on Melbourne Park had even commenced so I was pretty keen to check out the new facilities and obviously catch the odd bit of tennis.

Interestingly prior to the commencement of this year's tournament  - as seems to be the tradition - Premier Denis Napthine was joined by world no.16 (and honorary Melburnian) Ana Ivanovic where he announced details of the $338M Stage 2 of the Melbourne Park redevelopment to begin following Australian Open 2015.

This $338 million upgrade to Melbourne Park is critical to continue attracting global sporting, music and other cultural events such as the Australian Open.

There is no doubt this work will keep Melbourne Park as the best grand slam venue in the world and further cement Melbourne and Victoria as the global sporting capital - Premier Denis Napthine.

Stage 2 will involve:

  • A new western entrance with a bridge over Batman Ave from Birrarung Marr
  • A major refurbishment to Rod Laver Arena including a new eastern entrance and improved DDA access
  • A new outdoor 5,000 seat showcourt
  • A new media and administration centre
  • New and improved 'Garden Square'
  • New semi covered central terrace with roof structure overhead

Urban Melbourne will revisit the redevelopment as designs for the various elements are finalised, but at first glance it looks like it will enhance the Australian Open experience for visitors and spectators.  This will be achieved via improved access to the precinct, visual and physical permeability to existing structures with emphasis on a far more active experience.  The major plus for mine is definitely the new central terrace with what has the potential to be a really interesting piece of architecture in the way of a new roof structure/super sized pergola, although it would have been handy during the first week of the tournament's heat wave.

For now please enjoy my photos of the action both on and off the court including progress shots of Margaret Court Arena. 

For more information on the Melbourne Park Redevelopment visit Major Projects Victoria

Match #1: Maria Sharapova (RUS) and Karin Knapp (ITA) await the toss of the coin.

Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

Transport & Design

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:00
Infrastructure Victoria unveiled a new round of research into its larger programme of work dealing with managing transport demand. The authority contracted Arup and KPMG to produce the Melbourne Activity Based Model (MABM) and while it is new, it is considered fit for purpose in the strategic context.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.