Australian architects Bates Smart reveal bold plan to build new Sydney stadium suspended above Central station

The New South Wales State Government in Australia is proposing to demolish the main Sydney Football Stadium in Sydney’s south-eastern suburbs and replace it with a new stadium on the same site at a cost of $705 million.There has been broad public opposition to the proposal based on the wasteful use of government funds to demolish and rebuild.

Australian architecture and design practice Bates Smart believes there are three main issues with the Government’s proposal:
1. Moore Park Stadium is not well serviced by public transport
2. Moore Park Stadium does not have the surrounding entertainment and hospitality venues to extend the game experience and maximise visitor expenditure
3. The redevelopment does not catalyse wider economic benefits for urban or infrastructural renewal.

Philip Vivian, director, Bates Smart today reveals his alternative proposal to Sydney Football Stadium which involves constructing a 45,000-seat stadium over the rail yards of Sydney’s Central Station.

Philip Vivian, director, Bates Smart comments:
“The Coliseum in Rome established the concept of the stadium as a public space embedded in the fabric of the city; a monumental piece of infrastructure for public spectacle. In modern times however with the advent of the motor vehicle and the suburbs, stadiums became mono-functional objects, isolated on the periphery of the city and surrounded by car parking.

“Today a renaissance is underway, with stadiums once again being integrated into the city fabric and acting as catalysts of urban renewal. Stadiums, such as Camden Yards in Baltimore and Docklands Stadium in Melbourne, are anchors for entertainment districts and have reintroduced urban spectacle into our cities.

“We propose that Moore Park Stadium’s replacement be built over Central Station’s railyard; creating the benefits of public transport accessibility, catalyzing the development of the railyards to connect Surry Hills to Chippendale, and having broader economic benefits for the state, the city and surrounding neighbourhoods.”

The relocation of Moore Park Stadium to Central Station Railyards has major public and economic benefits for Sydney and New South Wales:

1. Public Transport
Stadiums are required to be accessible to vast numbers of people in a short period of time. Central Station is the most accessible public transport node in NSW; and will capitalizes on the NSW Government’s investment in transport infrastructure with the new Metro Station, and the Light Rail line both being implemented at Central.

2. Urban Renewal
A stadium over Central Railyards would create an ideal link between Surry Hills and Chippendale; reconnecting the two sides of the railway lines that have long been disconnected; and anchoring a vibrant new precinct.

3. Major Events and Urban Spectacle
Embedding a stadium in the fabric of the city creates an urban spectacle, enhancing the experience of attending events. The spillover benefit is that the broadcasting of major events will promote Sydney as a destination to broader audiences. Further, crowds from major events will have a multiplier effect on the economy of Sydney as people access surrounding entertainment and hospitality venues in the city.

4. Value Capture
The NSW Government has a highly valuable land holding in the Central Railyards; which should have demonstrable public as well as economic benefits for the State. We propose that the development rights for Central Railyards be provided in return for the construction of a new stadium. Not only does this off-set the cost of the stadium to Government, it also provides a revenue generating attractor to catalyse further development, creating value for the state and the developer.

5. More Park for Moore Park
Finally, of course, there are benefits for the existing Moore Park Stadium, which can continue to operate during construction of the new stadium without interruption; and upon completion the Moore Park Stadium and surrounding carpark can be returned to public parklands. Restoring Moore Park to its original size and replacing parkland lost to the light rail line will have immeasurable public benefits to the local community.