CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park carefully balances a complex functional brief with a desire to bring a civic presence to the precinct. As a counterpoint to the dominant language of sports architecture, Centrepiece is anchored in the landscape, providing a backdrop to, and framing the adjoining public realm spaces of Garden Square and the Central Terrace.
The building is conceived as a ‘solid’ object, differentiating itself from its neighbouring buildings via materiality, architectural language and unique program. While CENTREPIECE is largely homogenous materially – polished concrete, metal panel and glass – each elevation is a carefully designed threshold with these public spaces.
The interior architecture of CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park plays to the strengths of its location. It sits at the heart of the Melbourne Park Precinct alongside the public realm zones of Garden Square and Central Terrace with views to the river and parklands as well as the city beyond. The design of the interior spaces and the selection of materials and furnishings throughout draw inspiration from the surrounding urban context and the characteristics of the natural Australian landscape.
The carpeted floors in the Grand Hall and pre-function areas, for example, are a custom, rust-red pattern of stippled light and dark. The ceilings leading into the Grand Hall are clad in silver acoustic panel with a pattern of perforations and light fittings evoking dappled light through gum leaves. The concept for the Grand Hall itself is a nod to the eucalypts nearby, with striking vertical spotted gum acoustic cladding and a hit-and-miss pattern of light fittings above.
The interiors carefully balance complex functional requirements with a desire to give each space a unique identity and provide moments of drama and delight. Each space has a clear concept and palette selected to speak to the landscape of the riverside parkland nearby. Birrarung Marr was a key inspiration, informing an overall concept of the three levels of the building as three moments from that landscape: the rust-coloured earth of the riverbed; the eucalyptus tree canopy and the play of light through the leaves; and finally, the sky.
NH worked in close collaboration with Development Victoria, Melbourne and Olympic Parks, Tennis Australia and Recreation Victoria to deliver considered design solutions for flexibility and longevity. The venue features spaces that respond to the continuously changing client and stakeholder requirements, both year-round and during the Australian Open. Our team also worked closely with Nick Morris of Morris Goding Access Consulting to ensure the building provides the highest standard of amenity for people with accessibility needs.