The Australian Institute of Architects have spoken out against the NSW government’s plans to knock down and rebuild two Sydney stadiums, one of which was built less than 20 years ago.
The NSW Government recently announced plans to knock down and rebuild the Sydney Football Stadium at Moore Park and the Olympic Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park to make way for upgraded facilities that will have similar capacities.
The news was derided as wasteful by the NSW Labor opposition, and also sparked concern from the City of Sydney that the powerful SCG Trust would end up with more public open space from Moore Park.
AIA NSW chapter president Andrew Nimmo said it was worrying that such young buildings had been slated for demolition.
“The Sydney Football Stadium is barely 30 years old, while the Olympic Stadium is less than 20 years old,” Mr Nimmo said on Tuesday.
“When our major public buildings don’t last 30 years, we have a real problem. These are places where some of the greatest memories of modern Sydney were made, places where Sydney was elevated to the world stage.
“To demolish, rather than refurbish, seems like an extraordinary waste.”
He said stadiums should be built to last for 50-100 years.
“We are doing something wrong as a society if we apply a throwaway mentality to assets that are still so relatively young.”
He said it was not unreasonable for significant upgrades to occur to keep projects commercially viable, but best practice environmentally sustainable development acknowledges “the embodied energy contained in each of these structures – not only the metal, the concrete, the human hours of toil, but also the embodied memory that is locked up in each of these stadiums”.
“Great cities are made up of many layers of built fabric. We cannot wipe the slate of history clean every 20 years. The loss of these buildings would be like losing a major landmark from the horizon.”