The Club Stand
- Bates Smart
Completed for the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), The Club Stand provides a unique raceday experience, premium hospitality offerings and enhanced visibility for members.
Drawing inspiration from the shape of the racetrack, raceday fashion and Flemington’s iconic rose gardens, the highly-sculptural and curvilinear building occupies nearly the same footprint as the former Members’ Old Grandstand, but with an increase in capacity and more diverse hospitality venues.
The stand’s tiered and shaded seating allows for a 360-degree panorama, taking advantage of the energy and excitement that happens on and off the racetrack.
Thirteen hospitality venues provide an unrivalled raceday experience.
Taking on board the brief to create an unsurpassed experience for members, the team conducted extensive research and analytical studies, which informed the architectural and interior design approach.
Celebrating the lineage of The Club Stand was of importance. The VRC’s collection of artwork and memorabilia and repurposed elements from the former grandstand are woven throughout providing historic texture.
Thirteen completely different venues deliver an unrivalled raceday experience. The flexible quality of the interior is achieved by considering the hospitality spaces as stage sets, which are ‘plugged’ into the timeless shell and given distinct personalities.
The Club Stand is positioned near the main entry, some distance from the finishing line, but surrounded by the Mounting Yard, Pre-Parade Ring and Members Lawn.
Creating transparency was essential in order to capitalise on the action of the races. The building’s rounded design acknowledges this context and the sweeping curvilinear and sculptural form allows for a panoramic experience where members can watch the theatre of horse racing on all sides.
The stand differentiates itself from other horse racing grandstands via the tiered cantilevers which evoke flower petals, provide sunshade for the tiered seating, and impart a sculptural presence.
Initial explorations determined a distinctive and clear design rationale which resolved functional problems, but also revealed the potential to create an emblematic stand that acknowledges the site context. The oval shape of the building is fundamental to this and the cornerstone of the design.
The new stand, with a GFA of 12,967sqm, occupies nearly the same footprint as the former, but with greater capacity. The Club Stand has not only reinvented the very nature of the grandstand, but also the types of hospitality venues on offer for members.
During the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the team observed visitor movement patterns, entry points and general operations. This research shaped the design of the venues, ensuring visitor comfort is maintained during peak periods.
The Mumm Champagne Bar is the brand’s first in the southern hemisphere. Inspired by the Mumm champagne bottle, a 70-metre-long signature red ribbon weaves through the space and doubles as a lighting installation. Sophisticated 3D modelling created the carpet which has no repeating pattern.
The Club Stand’s improved outdoor bench seating references the original design of the Members’ Old Grandstand seating and is a significant departure from conventional stadium seating. The seating slates—which comprise 18,500 linear metres or 2376 seats—were made from Replas, a recycled plastic product made predominantly from recycled milk bottles and in line with AS/NZS ISO 14021.
Overall the building projects an impression of transparency and lightness, enhanced via the mullionless floor-to-ceiling glazing which characterises the perimeter of each level.