Allianz Stadium architect Philip Cox of Cox Architecture has hit back against claims that the stadium is unsafe and in need of demolition.

There has been no shortage of criticism around Allianz Stadium (also known as Sydney Football Stadium) with recent arguments that the stadium lacks disabled access and female toilets, the polypropylene seats are flammable, the aisles are too narrow and there aren’t enough exits, nor are there any fire sprinklers, making the stadium a massive fire risk. Independent experts have analysed the design and claimed that not even a refurbishment will be able to bring the stadium to today’s safety standards, according to the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust (SCG).

“The Sydney Football Stadium was designed in the mid-1980s and opened in 1988, long before the Green Guide which grew from the Taylor report became the global stadium design handbook,” says SCG trust chairman Tony Shepherd.

“In an emergency, patrons face the very real prospect of serious injury or worse in the rush for the exists. I speak from personal experience in saying that it’s bad enough getting a beer on the concourse when there’s a crowd of 15,000 – it would be absolute mayhem in the event of an emergency evacuation.”

Due to these claims, the Berejiklian government has been campaigning to have a new stadium built, with Cox Architecture winning a competition to design a new stadium on the current site. 

With the possibility of Allianz being demolished in just a few days, the stadium’s original architect Philip Cox has refuted claims that the stadium is fundamentally unsafe and can be saved only through demolition and re-build.

In a comment to the Australian Financial Review, Cox has argued that the stadium was compliant when it was designed, and that any safety issues have been addressed over its lifecycle.

Former assistant government architect Andrew Andersons, who assessed plans for the stadium before it was built, also claims it went through detailed scrutiny at the time, and that safety standards have not changed significantly since then.

He argues that it would be very difficult to light the propylene chairs on fire, and that if aisle width is an issue then event organisers should simply sell less seats. However, he has recognised that this is hardly necessary as the stadium usually operates at less than 50 percent capacity. He also feels that it would not be an issue to add more toilets and facilities to the existing stadium.

Tensions remain high with the Federal Election looming, and arguments over whether the Berejiklian government actually has the proper approval to demolish the structure.

Image credit: Cox Architecture