Buchan, Nikken Sekkei and HKS form Brisbane 2032 venue alliance

Phil Schoutrop (right) and Andrew Colling (left)

Featured image credit: Jacqueline Bawtree

Australian design practice Buchan has joined forces with Japanese firm Nikken Sekkei and Dallas-headquartered HKS in a call for sustainable timber design and “fresh, local” perspective when it comes to venue development for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brisbane.

All three firms have strong ties to Brisbane. Buchan and Nikken Sekkei’s relationship goes back many years, with the Japanese firm currently delivering Buchan’s design for the Australian Pavilion for World Expo 2025 in Osaka.

Buchan’s Brisbane-based principal and precincts sector lead, Phil Schoutrop, states Buchan and Nikken Sekkei have shared aspirations for the people of Brisbane. “The 2032 Olympic venues, and the spaces in between, need to capture our communal spirit and not end up being generic places that could be anywhere,” he said.

“Buchan’s extensive local knowledge pairs well with Nikken Sekkei’s sustainable design expertise to amplify what makes Brisbane unique.”

Nikken Sekkei has a Wood Lab dedicated to the research, design, and delivery of sustainable timber buildings. An example is the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, the gymnastics venue for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Nikken Sekkei executive design fellow, Hiroshi Miyakawa, was principal architect on the award-winning building, which was converted into a permanent exhibition hall after the Games. It features one of the largest timber roof spans in the world.

“Timber is a beautiful material that resonates with Brisbane’s sub-tropical climate and local architecture,” said Miyakawa. “Bringing our expertise in sustainable sports venue design to the creation of distinctly Queensland venues would be a wonderful legacy for our two countries.”

HKS joins the alliance with a significant portfolio of global sports and entertainment venues, including SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. The HKS sports sector lead in Australia is Andrew Colling, principal/director for Australia & NZ, who grew up in Brisbane and lives on the Gold Coast. Colling worked closely on SoFi Stadium and says many Australians have toured the stadium in the past 12 months, including the Queensland Deputy Premier and the director general of public works.

Colling added: “To design for Brisbane, we need to look in the mirror. Who are we and what will make a great addition to our city, not just for 2032, but for the next 50 years and beyond?”

Venue development for Brisbane 2032 hit the headlines again last week as officials behind the delivery of the Games defended the contentious A$2.7bn (£1.37bn/€1.6bn/$1.73bn) redevelopment of The Gabba stadium which will see it serve as the centrepiece of the events.

Games executives faced questioning from senators on the first day of a federal inquiry into Australia’s preparedness to stage the Games. The Australian and Queensland Governments in February unveiled a A$7bn funding agreement to overhaul the state’s sporting infrastructure ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, focusing on redevelopment of The Gabba and construction of the new Brisbane Live arena.