La Trobe University Sports Park
Client : La Trobe University
Area : 112,800 sf
Program : Two Triple Gymnisiums, Changerooms, Research Labs, Café, Administrative and Support Spaces
Associated Architects : Warren and Mahoney Architects
This planned epicentre for high-performance sport, exercise, and rehabilitation is located on La Trobe University’s main campus, roughly 15 kilometres from downtown Melbourne. When completed, the Park will be a forum for elite athletic training and cutting-edge research within one of Australia’s largest and fastest-growing universities, asserting its importance as a prime destination for sport and recreation at the north end of the city.
While the project as a whole spans several acres—including outdoor sports fields for soccer, field hockey, rugby, Australian football, and baseball—the core of the project is a 112,800-square-foot facility at the threshold between the campus and its sports district. Inside are two triple gymnasiums, change rooms, and research labs, as well as administrative spaces, a café, and a lobby. Interior connections are key to promoting the exposure of and accessibility to all its activities—both visual connections between different programs and the placement of shared common spaces.
This interior connectivity makes for a more dynamic facility, as it allows multiple programs to run simultaneously, further enhancing the connection between the public and the world of elite training and research. It also allows for a more compact external envelope, part of an overall high-performance building fabric, lowering energy use and greenhouse gas emissions; energy and daylight modelling further optimizes building performance and lowers operational costs.
As the entry point to the sports district, the structure will create a new landmark—an extension of the University’s established brand and a cornerstone for wayfinding and orientation. The building’s design relies on visual and physical permeability to engage its users linking it to a strong network of pedestrian pathways and plugging it into the surrounding campus-connected neighbourhoods.
The Park is sited west of the main campus, across an access road; to the immediate north is a large cemetery, while to the east and south lie a lightly forested pasture and a lake. This Eco Corridor hosts a wetland system of great ecological value and serves as an important wildlife habitat for the greater Melbourne region. Before developing the building site and sports fields, the design team developed a comprehensive Sustainability Management Framework, including a rainwater re-use and storage strategy, to not only preserve the local ecology but also to embody key elements in the vision for the campus master plan.