Aurecon was appointed for the building services, structural and civil engineering for Etihad Stadium’s design and construction, which took a brownfield railway site to a world-class stadium with a seating capacity of 52 000 seats during sports matches and up to 70 000 seats for concerts and events.
Etihad Stadium is the lynchpin that kick-started Melbourne’s multi-billion dollar Docklands precinct and it is a world class sporting and entertainment venue. Completed in 2000, the stadium has been host to Australian Football League (AFL) games and other sporting events, including Melbourne Victory soccer matches, one-day international cricket, rugby league and rugby union, and numerous concerts and specialised events.
Performance based fire engineering was an important element of the design. Using sophisticated analysis techniques, significant benefits were achieved, including the elimination of mechanical smoke extraction in the bowl, unprotected steelwork and significant simplification of fire compartmentation and egress provisions.
Aurecon was also responsible for the sophisticated multi-mode sports lighting design, public address systems and scoreboards. The highly resilient power supply was designed to allow sporting broadcasts to be unaffected by interruptions to the grid.
Key aspects of the project included a naturally ventilated stadium under a fully retractable roof; a basement carpark located under the playing surface; retractable seating; dining areas for 6 500 patrons; 66 private spectator boxes; and an acoustically treated roof for concert mode.
The stadium features one of the largest moving roofs in the world. When closed the stadium bowl forms an enclosed volume of more than a million cubic metres, making it one of the largest applications of natural ventilation in the world. Covering the 160 m x 100 m opening are two panels, each weighting approximately 1 200 tonnes, which can fully enclose the pitch in approximately eight minutes. The design of mechanisms to operate these panels incorporated shiploader technology to develop the bogie arrangements and control systems.
Importantly, Aurecon has developed a strong relationship with the venue operators, Melbourne Stadiums Limited, and have continued to provide engineering services for the many stadium enhancements and base building upgrades over the past 15+ years.