In Melbourne, the new Flemington Racecourse members’ grandstand, The Club Stand, is re-defining sports spectator venues. It will ensure Flemington continues to grow its contribution to the Victorian economy and also retain its position as a world-class sporting, entertainment and tourism venue well into the future.
The state-of-the-art stand, inspired by spring flowers and hats synonymous with the annual Melbourne Cup Carnival, replaces the 1920s built members’ grandstand. Its size has doubled to 18,000sq m enabling the Victoria Racing Club to grow its membership base. The stand houses eight restaurants and bars over five levels, and a rooftop garden. Victorian Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula, said it would ensure Victoria remains one of the top racing destinations in the world.
Arup’s team of specialists across 11 disciplines brought global sport and venue experience to the project, facilitating a ‘different’ type of spectator venue – turning a horse racing viewing facility into a world leading hospitality venue. It has a future-ready digital backbone for patrons and users and event security, plus unobstructed sightlines and views over the famous track, Mounting Yard, Members Lawn, Betting Ring and Winning Post.
11disciplines contributed to the project
27,500total Arup hoursspent on design of the buildings and surrounding infrastructure
10,500patronsin the stand were included in the capacity analysis of walkways, escalators, stairs, lifts
Ease of movement vital to spectator enjoyment
Our pedestrian modellers wanted to ensure that moving around the venue was as efficient, enjoyable and as safe as possible. Some 10,500 patrons were included in our capacity analysis of walkways, escalators, stairs and lifts. We modelled peak queuing - in and out of turnstiles, at bars and restaurants, up and down escalators and getting to and from the betting ring and back to trackside - before, during and after races. By incorporating this analysis into the design of the building and surrounding infrastructure, spectators can be assured of the highest levels of safety, efficiency and an overall positive spectator experience.
Clear views for racegoers
An important factor in a spectator’s enjoyment is a clear view of the racing action. The new stand - being more than a simple structure with seats facing a track - presented early design challenges. Our team analysed spectator sightlines across a multitude of variations of seating configurations. By creating detailed visuals of the views from restaurants and bars inside the building, and from seats outside, we determined how and when a spectator’s view could be obstructed during an event allowing us to optimise configuration and layout. We extended our analysis and design to include ‘overlays’ commonly found on event days, such as the famous event marquees which are erected during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
© Bates Smart
Spectators will experience smooth access to interactive technologies. We provided significant intelligence in designing and incorporating a future ready backbone of electrical and IT infrastructure into the stand for the varying uses of gaming, controls and security and Wi-Fi.
Cheer with no fear
An early design challenge was presented by the significant - yet delicate looking - petal structures surrounding the building on every level, which need to safely handle the pressures exerted by excited racegoers. The concrete petal structures cantilever to face the track and embrace several restaurant spaces which stretch out towards the track and upwards of eight metres.
Our team’s extensive dynamic analysis of the concrete petal structures, established the design could stay within natural frequency and dynamic restrictions, resulting in a grandstand that would not vibrate when the crowds became excited, and hence ensuring safety of patrons and of The Club Stand itself.