The other night I got the chance to take a look at AAMI Park on a guided tour organised by the AIA. As a massive football fan I visit the stadium on an almost weekly basis during the A-League season I was actually more interested in seeing some of the behind the scene facilities that makes up a large part of the stadium that the general public don’t get to see. Unfortunately for all of us on the tour, those facilities were in use so we weren’t able to have a look.
Friday night saw the winners of 2011 Victoria Architecture Awards announced and it was AAMI Park by Cox Architecture unsurprisingly scooping the pool. AAMI Park otherwise known as “the rectangular stadium” or “idontwearblack’s favourite building eva” took out the night’s highest honour in the form of the Victorian Architecture Medal along with the Melbourne Prize, the William Wardell Award for Public Architecture and the Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture. All bias aside, this is one of best buildings that has been produced in Melbourne in a while in terms of the way it has been resolved in all areas of design.
The timetable for the 2011 Presentation to Juries for the AIA Victorian Architecture Awards has floated across my desk and I thought I would take the opportunity of compiling a list of ten projects worth checking out. This year for some unknown reason the venue for the event has been moved from the Sidney Myer Asia Centre at the University of Melbourne to Monash University’s Faculty of Art and Design Building G so don’t tell me you haven’t been forewarned.
Recently I gave a talk at my work about my aim to visit as many football (aka soccer) stadiums as I possible can in my lifetime. Whilst it didn’t concentrate solely on architecture I thought I would some of the images might be of inspiration. The talk was basically broken up into two parts: stadiums I have visited both here and abroad; and those I wish to visit in the future.
If Melbourne’s new rectangular stadium (now known as AAMI Park) were a person it probably would have taken a restraining order out on me by now. For two years now I have visited/stalked the site on pretty much a fortnightly basis to photograph its progress in the hope of creating one of those photographic animations which illustrates the process of the construction.
You may ask, why this obsession? For me, this eye-catching building encapsulates two of my passions, football and architecture. My football team, Melbourne Victory will be one of the tenants and thus provides me with added interest as I will be spending vast periods of the rest of my life in this stadium.
So it was much anticipation that I finally got to go inside the stadium on Friday night and to see if it was as good on the inside as it appeared from the outside. And I wasn’t disappointed. Not only have Cox Architects created an eye-catching stadium that will be the benchmark for stadiums to come in this country for years to come. What struck me were the similarities between this stadium and the Sydney Football Stadium, also by Cox Architects, especially when it came to the experience inside. Also impressive was the fact that not only do you experience “the bubbles” externally but internally as well as you transverse the internal concourse looking for your seat.