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Bates Smart unveils Sydney stadium plan

Australian architecture firm Bates Smart has detailed bold plans to build a new 45,000-seat stadium over the rail yards of Sydney’s Central Station.

The project would serve as an alternative proposal to the New South Wales State Government’s plans to demolish and rebuild the 44,000-seat Allianz Stadium, which hosts rugby league, rugby union and football matches.

Bates Smart feels that Allianz Stadium is not well serviced by public transport and does not have the surrounding entertainment and hospitality venues to extend the game-day experience and maximise visitor expenditure. The firm also believes the government’s proposal does not catalyse wider economic benefits for urban or infrastructural renewal.

Bates Smart director Philip Vivian believes the company’s proposal would prove more beneficial to Sydney than the current plans put forward by the government.

Vivian said: “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, catalysing the development of the railyards to connect Surry Hills to Chippendale, and having broader economic benefits for the state, the city and surrounding neighbourhoods.”

Bates Smart noted that Central Station is the “most accessible public transport node” in New South Wales and pointed out that stadiums are required to be accessible to large numbers of people in a short period of time.

The firm added that its stadium would help create an “urban spectacle”, with the broadcasting of major events to promote Sydney as a destination to broader audiences.

Bates Smart has also proposed that the development rights for Central Railyards be provided in return for the construction of a new stadium, a move it feels would offset the cost of the stadium to the government and provide a revenue-generating attractor to catalyse further development.

Additionally, Bates Smart pointed to the benefits that would be created for the existing Allianz Stadium, which it says would continue to operate during construction of the new facility without interruption. Under Bates Smart’s plans, Allianz Stadium and its surrounding carpark would be returned to public parklands once the new venue is built.

A New South Wales government spokesperson told the Guardian newspaper that any proposal would need “to be evaluated under the appropriate guidelines”.

Image: Bates Smart