ANZ Stadium, initially named Stadium Australia, and later Telstra Stadium, was the centrepiece of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. It was the largest stadium ever used for the Olympics at the time of the games. The original capacity was 110 000 but dropped to 83 500 after renovation works. Telstra, the major Australian communications company, purchased the rights to Stadium Australia in July 2002 for exclusive naming rights of the stadium.
The stadium was projected by the company Bligh Lobb Sports Architecture. The project was inspired by "akubra" which is a typical Australian soft hat. The stadium presents two main tribunes that are covered by a huge roof that is constructed from translucent polycarbonate.
At the time of the games the two stands at either end were 50 feet (15 meters) higher than the main tribunes and were not covered by a roof. In 2001 redevelopment works started to reduce the size and convert the playing field into an oval shape to enable Australian Football to be played. The upper part of the stands was demolished and the lower part was placed closer to the playing field. The roof was extended to cover the lower parts too and consequently the entire stadium was covered by a roof having the shape of a saddle.
The elegancy of the roof is one of the most pleasant aspects of the stadium. Suspended from a huge arch structure, the roof has a length of 985 feet (300 meters). Notwithstanding its immense dimension, the roof offers a sense of lightness that is accentuated by the translucent material which it is made of.
The stadium integrates remarkably with its environment. Air and natural ventilation are secured by means of spaces that were left empty intentionally. The shape of the roof offers the possibility to reuse rainwater directing it into water reservoirs. At the outside, the four entry towers appear imposingly making the stadium the reference point of the Olympic Village.
© by Angelo Spampinato