La Trobe University Sports Park
- La Trobe University
- Warren and Mahoney
- MJMA Toronto
The La Trobe University Sports Park is the first purpose-built facility of its kind in Australia. The aim for the facility was to take disconnected playing fields on the edge of the University campus, using their unification as an impetus for a more outward community focus. The site integrates academic research and teaching functions with world-class playing facilities for professional, state and community clubs. More than just a University sports and teaching building, the Sports Park is a community destination that is active day and night, weekdays and weekends, bringing together students, athletes, academics, sports administrators and community sport.
– The designs ‘hubbing’ strategy combines key functions into a single vibrant centre, delivering significant efficiencies and bringing diverse users together.
– The simple massing of the large span structure over the courts has been addressed by diving the courts into two banks of three, offering capacity to run one in a show-court configuration and the other as a training / community space.
– The arrangement of teaching labs with sports science technology, and advanced physiology and biomechanics labs, is carefully crafted to encourage the collisions and cross-pollination that bring about discovery and inspiration between elite sport and recreational participation.
The new facility connects to the community by being open and transparent, putting sport on display and encouraging the widest possible participation for both recreational and competitive users. Open, highly glazed facades that prioritise exterior views and natural light lower the barriers to entry, making the centre feel highly accessible to users of all abilities. The amalgamation of sport infrastructure combines University and community use; office spaces for sports management, research and community sporting organisations; dedicated sports science teaching and testing facilities for training of students and elite athletes – all creating a strong sense of place for its users.
The La Trobe Sports Park acts as a model for the bipartisan approach of local government and the tertiary sector to develop facilities that blend tertiary and community use. Good design is a powerful strategy for social cohesion and shared sense of purpose and the La Trobe University Sports Park is a place that will be well adopted by the community: it feels familiar, welcoming, and inclusive. It brings people together and encourages participation in community life. It also contributes significantly to the local economy by hosting events and by creating a healthier, happier, and more resilient community.
Banyule City Council and La Trobe University partnered to address the significant shortfall of Basketball, Netball and Volleyball facilities within the municipality while providing greater accessibility for the public onto the University campus. At the same time, sporting facilities were upgraded with better access from the heart of the campus, increasing the student experience while studying at La Trobe. The design was able to achieve a 5 Star Greenstar rating, by implementing a high-performance façade and roof, a natural ventilation strategy to the courts, high efficiency services systems and implementation of water storage and a 500kW PV array.
The project benefited from association with our Toronto-based colleagues MJMA, the international sports architecture specialists we invited to collaborate on the design and masterplanning. The project was originally intended to be delivered as a Lump Sum project but was revised during the early design development phase to be delivered as a Design and Construct Contract with ADCO Construction to meet the strict timelines of the University year. As part of the Design and Contractor team, Warren and Mahoney was able to manage cost, design integrity, building performance and sustainability. A 6 Star As-Built Greenstar rating is currently being targeted.