Richmond Football Club Punt Road Oval Redevelopment
The Richmond Football Club, Punt Road Oval redevelopment for Richmond Football Club is an elite, multipurpose sports facility that combines high performance training, treatment and recovery, education, workplace and retail components. Suters Architects were asked to develop a concept that balances the requirements of an elite level training facility, enables the business objectives of the club plus fosters public participation and engages the local community. Consequently the facility is designed to be visually permeable to enable fans to absorb the club’s rich history and to catch a glimpse of their team preparing for their next encounter.
Home of the Richmond Football Club, the redevelopment includes a gym, sports hall, recovery pool, Community Activity Centre (located under the existing Jack Dwyer stand), additional administration space, function centre and associated commercial kitchen, Aboriginal Cultural Centre and club shop.
- The new building is integrated into the existing administration building and historic Jack Dyer Stand, which both stayed in operation (including the lower ground level pool) during construction works.
- The three-dimension facade has been constructed with clear-spanning space frames and steel portal frames, whist the long span structure over the gym is an innovative series of post-tensioned concrete portal frames.
A four-stage $18 million project, the first of which consisted of demolishing the existing Richmond social club and museum building and constructing a three-level concrete framed building with steel roof and wall framing, metal sheet cladding in various architectural angles and reflecting the clubs yellow and black heritage.
Stage one consists of relocating the existing sales and membership team into the temporary “Tiger Den” and to relocate the maintenance team into a new facility.
Stage two consists of the construction of the new 3 level building consisting of the new retail/sales area, community sports hall, gymnasium, recovery pool and refurbishment of existing pool area, new change rooms and locker rooms and facilities for medical and training staff to level 1 level 2 will consist of new offices for the sales and football department as well as an 82 seat lecture theatre. Level 3 consists of a commercial kitchen to service the large conference and function spaces as well as office space for the Richmond Football Department and the Indigenous Institute of Sport being Stage 3.
The fourth and final stage involves the refurbishment of the existing football department office space as well as the complete internal fitout of the existing Jack Dyer Stand incorporating the club’s museum and a community multi-purpose space complete with amenities. New coaches boxes are also installed within the existing Jack Dyer Stand.
The project also includes facilities to house a wide range of Club and Community activities and has involved consultation with a diverse group of stakeholders. The Club, Local Government, The AFL, Local Community Groups and the Department of Victorian Communities have all provided valuable input. Accommodation is provided for:
- Membership Support
- Function / Hospitality
- Sports Medicine and Research
- High Performance Player Training and Fitness
- Rehabilitation and Recovery
- Sports Hall
- Lecture Theatre
The multiple uses the redevelopment evolved from an ethos of co-location which enriches its programmatic function, with areas dedicated to football use, community use and majority of space dedicated as flexible areas able to be programmed for use by all parties at different times.
In a joint partnership between the Richmond Football Club, City of Melbourne, Department of Sport and Recreation and the Australian Football League, the redevelopment of the Punt Road Oval fuels the themed landscape of the Richmond Tigers Football Club.
Our desire to root the design within a Melbourne context, as well as reference the athletic grace of the human body, led us to the work of sculptor Clement Meadmore. The physicality of his extruded shapes sat comfortably with newspaper stills of Australian Rules footballers in action. The long narrow slither of land around Punt Road Oval allowed the continuation of this motif, with the building contorting and squeezing in exertion between the oval’s boundary and AFL Way, as it progresses towards the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) from Punt Road.
This facility is the next instalment in the Richmond Tigers Football Club’s rich, 126 year history. A well recognised image in Australian Rules Football is the vision of the winning team, forming a winner’s circle as they sing their team song in victory – a scene very familiar to the Richmond Football Club. This is relayed in the new facility design, with the elevations drawing inspiration from this post game tradition. We pictured the team, with their tiger striped uniforms, standing in a circle with arms intertwined as a TV cameraman spins in the centre, capturing them as they sing the popular ‘We’re from Tigerland’ theme song.
There were many other cultural considerations during the redevelopment. Respect was paid to the Jack Dyer Stand, built in celebration of one of Richmond’s greatest football legends, with the continuation of the red brick grandstand. The red becomes an extension of the body of the club, its muscle beneath the club colours.
The continuation of the red brick can also be viewed as a reference to the red of Harold Thomas’s indigenous flag, with the club having established a history of involvement with indigenous groups in Victoria and Central Australia. The new facility also houses the Korin Gamadji Institute, a training centre for indigenous youth, which will be a life skills centre offering vocation training and VET courses.
The multiple uses for the redevelopment evolved from an ethos of co-location which enriches its programmatic function, with areas dedicated to football use, community use and space dedicated as flexible areas able to be programmed for use by all parties at different times.
The overall design successfully creates a legibility of architecture that speaks to the Australian Rules Football crowd, one driven on identity, ‘tiger’ pride and loyalty.
“We had hoped for a legibility of architecture that speaks to the footy crowd, one driven on identity and loyalty. It has already spoken to some, as is evident in this review by former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett: “Geez, I just bloody love this facility – it’s so Richmond, it’s so bold, it’s so audacious.”
About – Punt Road Oval:
Punt Road Oval (also known as the Richmond Cricket Ground), is a sporting ground located in Yarra Park, East Melbourne, Victoria situated only a few hundred metres to the east of the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground. Punt Road Oval is historically notable as a former venue of the Victorian Football League (now Australian Football League) with 544 official VFL/AFL matches played there between 1908 and 1964 and as the headquarters and former home ground of the Richmond Football Club.
In October 1855 an application was made for the Richmond Cricket Club to play matches on the Richmond paddock next to the site occupied by the prestigious Melbourne Cricket Club. The first documented cricket match on the oval was played on December 27, 1856. It was used as the home ground by the Richmond Football Club in the Victorian Football Association from 1885 to 1907 then in the Victorian Football League from 1908 to 1964. It was also used by the Melbourne Football Club during and immediately after World War II, when the MCG became a military base. Not until late 1946 were Melbourne able to play the MCG again. Owing to the arrangement of the draw for 1942, South Melbourne played one home game there against Hawthorn when Richmond had the bye. The Tigers, under the stewardship of Club President Ray Dunn, negotiated to move their home games to the MCG and, on August 22, 1964, the last senior VFL game was played at Punt Road when Richmond played host to Hawthorn.
- Today: The ground is still used for training by the Richmond Football Club and it remains the club’s administrative headquarters. A statue of Tigers legend Jack Dyer is outside the ground. A more modern state of the facility for the Richmond football club is currently under construction by Buxton Construction. It has remained as the home ground for the Richmond Cricket Club from 1856 to this day.
Project name: Punt Road Oval Redevelopment
Location: Richmond Football Club, Oval Yarra Park, Punt Road, Richmond, Victoria 3121, Australia
Coordinates: -37.821586, 144.987435
Project Area: 4,600 sqm
Project Year: 2010-2013
Construction Year: 2011
Value: $18 million
Completion Year: 2013
Visit Richmond Football Club’s website: here
Client / Owner / Developer: Richmond Football Club, Australian Football League, City of Melbourne
Architects: Suters Architects – Level 6, 232 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne, VIC 3002 Australia
Project Team: Stephen Cheney, Mark van den Enden, Mike McGrath, Joshua McAlister, Kellie Adler, Kris McIsaac, Michael Hubbard, Neil Zimmerman, Rebecca Brewer, Vicky Tsang, Stuart Stark, Shea O’Donoghue
Project Manager: Coffey Projects Pty Ltd & AWC Property Development & Consulting
Construction: Buxton Construction
Civil Engineer: Irwin Consult
Cost Consultant: Aquenta Consulting
Environmental Engineer: Umow Lai
Landscape Architect: Rush/Wright Associates
Structural Engineer: Kersulting Engineers
Building Surveyor: Reddo Building Surveyors
Quantity Surveyor: Currie & Brown
Text Description: © Courtesy of Suters Architects, Kersulting Engineers, Buxton Construction
Images: © Suters Architects, Emma Cross, Kersulting Engineers