"Sports Architecture has traditionally occupied a territory between engineering and industrial sheds. The dominant aesthetic is composed from steel trusses, generic concourses and an international language that is repeated everywhere.
The ambition for the redevelopment of the Margaret Court Arena was to counterpoint this "Brutus Maximus" style. We aimed to create a civic landmark that belongs to the legacy of Melbourne's public buildings dotted along the Yarra River: the 1956 Olympic Swimming Pool, the Myer Music Bowl, the Victorian Arts Centre and Federation Square, while ensuring the venue maintains the Australian Open's place at the forefront of World Tennis and allowing the Arena to host a range of premier concerts.
The transformed Margaret Court Arena features an additional 1,500 seats, the world's fastest retractable roof and new enclosed concourse areas that enjoy spectacular outlooks not just to the precinct's surrounding facilities, but also to the river and the Melbourne city skyline. Responding to its prominent river edge location, the transparent outer skin of the building allows the inner timber clad Arena to be on show throughout the Melbourne Park precinct.
This connection is further reinforced by the large copper-penny coloured roof that reflects the materiality of the Yarra?s existing public buildings: patina copper, black zinc, Kimberley sandstone, concrete and polished stainless steel. The big roof generates large overhanging canopies that fold down to pedestrian level, affording patrons and visitors respite from the extremes of the Australian Open?s summer and protection from Melbourne's famous "four seasons in one day".
The pleated roof is also a response to the global influence of "virtual visitors" who access the venue via the image broadcast by the ever present sky-chopper. Even the satellite view from Google Maps will allow audiences to identify the differences between Margaret Court Arena and its adjoining counterpart Rod Laver Arena."