Rod Laver Arena (formerly National Tennis Centre)

Flinders Park, Melbourne, Victoria

This major sporting facility was designed as part of Australia’s bicentennial celebrations and is one of only four “grand slam” tennis venues in the world. The project commission included a master plan, design, documentation and partial contract administration. Begun in 1984, the project includes a 15,000 seat centre court with a retractable roof, 6,000 and 3,000 seat match courts, an indoor tennis facility, public concourse and car parking.

The Centre is sited adjacent to a prominent bend in Melbourne’s Yarra River and the public parkland which the Centre partially absorbs. The solution was to submerge all but the centre court into a podium which, with surrounding planted slopes, gives an impression of continuous parkland. The podium conceals the car parking and support facilities so that only the centre court remains prominent.

A vital design specification was a retractable roof that was reliable, strong and would not rust. The completed roof, its innovative design a world’s first, is formed by two rolling sections, each spanning the court with arched trusses. The roof takes just 20 minutes to open or close, and allows the venue to be used throughout the year for concerts, arena spectaculars and other functions.

  • Awards
  • Technical Information
  • Cox Team

Merit Award, 1989

World Quaternario Award, 1988

Merit Award, 1988

In association with
Peddle Thorp Architects
Civic & Civic for Tennis Australia
Project Status
Completed, 1985-1988
Key Consultants
Maunsell & Partners, Norman Disney & Young, WSP (Lincolne Scott), Rankine & Hill, Tract Consultants, G Harding & Associates, Rider Hunt, Entertect
Contractor / Builder
Lendlease (formerly Civil & Civic)
Gross Floor Area