Australia’s first women’s-first stadium set for opener

Brighton Homes Arena

Featured image credit: Brisbane Lions

Brisbane Lions’ Brighton Homes Arena, Australia’s first women’s-first sports stadium, is to welcome fans for the first time at this weekend’s 2022 NAB AFLW Grand Final.

The $80m, 9,000-capacity venue, developed by COHA Group, Hutchinson Builders and Populous, will host the game between home team Brisbane Lions and Melbourne.

Located in South East Queensland’s Springfield Central district, the Brighton Homes Arena will be the new home of the Brisbane Lions women’s team and a training and administration centre for the wider club.

The development team said it has been designed to provide a benchmark for how equal opportunity facilities in an elite environment are delivered. The new home also marks the first time the club’s administrative operations and football departments will be co-located under one roof, with the AFLW and AFL players and coaches “sharing greater opportunities for positive culture, innovation and idea sharing at the Brisbane Lions”.

The venue – also known as Springfield Central Stadium – will be used for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games to stage the modern pentathlon competition.

Populous architect Brayden Goodwin said: “Rather than retrofitting an existing AFL ground, the Brighton Homes Arena is a new boutique community venue that has been master planned to create an engaging civic precinct and extend the Lions’ relationship with the broader community.

“This is Australia’s first equitably designed elite training headquarters that were purpose-built to host AFLW matches and also be utilised for the Brisbane Lions, AFL Queensland, representative matches and as a dedicated place for junior development.”

The complex features an elite high performance training centre, the administration and community facilities and the grandstand which are arranged around the Michael Voss Oval playing field.

Main considerations in the design included security, visibility, flexibility and public access flow through to the main field. The administration areas for the Brisbane Lions houses all the main training and administration areas and is almost an entirely secure facility with controlled access allowed to some areas.

Over 50% of the Brighton Homes Arena has been designed for community use, from meeting spaces and function rooms, a café, parkland and a community gym, pool and wellness centre with elite level equipment.

Between them, COHA Group, Hutchinson Builders and Populous have previously worked on elite and community facilities across Queensland, including the Brisbane Broncos Clive Berghofer Centre.

COHA Group managing director Paul Coory said: “Our focus during the design and construction phases of the project was to assist the club in managing the myriad of stakeholders and to create a project management environment which allowed the project to be delivered on time and on budget despite the challenges of supply chains experienced in the industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Construction of the Brisbane Lions Elite Training Facility and Brighton Homes Arena commenced in May 2021 and will be launched to the public for the first time at the 2022 AFLW Grand Final this Sunday.

Hutchinson Builders team leader Michael White said the precinct secured around 200 local jobs throughout the build plan.

“Hutchies was born and bred in Queensland. We’ve got a vested interest in being part of places that liven up our communities. The new home of the Brisbane Lions will be a game changer for locals and we’re proud to have been involved,” White said.