Melbourne Tennis Centre Showcourt 3
Location: Melbourne Park Tennis Centre, VIC
Completion Date: December 2019
Size: 1800 sqm
Fabric: PVC Mehler FR700N
Client: Tennis Australia
The 1800m2 canopy over the seating area on the Melbourne Tennis Centre Showcourt 3 is a feature that increased spectator enjoyment during the 2020, 2021 and 2022 Australian Open tennis tournaments.
The canopy was designed to be minimise viewing obstruction while providing effective shelter for patrons from both rain and sun. The structure had to be temporary and rapidly demountable, but also able to be quickly converted into a permanent structure at low cost.
Spectator comfort is paramount for major sporting events. Even the most ardent fan would think twice about sitting in the sun for hours to watch their favourite tennis player. Home to the Australian Open, one of Australia’s premier sports events, the Melbourne Tennis Centre Showcourt 3 shade canopies help to patrons comfort a priority with a new lightweight, fabric roof structure to protect them from the sun, but still enjoy all the hot tennis action on court.
This Melbourne Tennis Centre Showcourt 3 project was unique because the structure had to be designed to be temporary and rapidly demountable, but also able to be quickly converted into a permanent structure at low cost. This requirement drove a lot design decisions and details; extra money was spent on components and fixtures so that each bay had its own fabric panel that could be easily installed and de-installed by workers in a very short time period.
Added complexity to the design phase of the project was that the existing stadium seating was built a long time ago and the old structural blueprints showed that the mixture of precast and reinforced concrete would only be able to take a limited amount of extra loading. Multiple design ideas had to be cycled through to finalise a proposal that would not overload the existing structure, but was still simple to build and take down as a rapid erection temporary structure
A number of challenges were overcome in the construction phase of the project, including having limited site access for heavy vehicles in order to maintain the quality of the Melbourne Park grounds. The project also had a narrow delivery window, with handover from the design team occurring in August 2019, and construction was completed and ready for client handover in December 2019, a few weeks ahead of the 2020 Australian Open.
Made with lightweight Mehler FR700N PVC, the shade canopies are durable enough to survive over both the original temporary frame, and will then be reused when a more permanent shade structure is installed.
The canopy around Melbourne Tennis Centre Showcourt 3 proved extremely popular with fans during the Australian Open in 2020, 2021 and 2022, and planning is now under way to make the structure permanent.