The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) has called into question a NSW government announcement to demolish two relatively new sports stadiums in Sydney-the Sydney Football Stadium at Moore Park and the Olympic Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park.

While the NSW government claims this is all about upgrading and bringing in new public facilities to the city, at the same time, the Sydney Football Stadium is less than 30 years old, while the Olympic Stadium was built for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and is less than 19 years old.

“When our major public buildings don’t last thirty 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,” says NSW chapter president Andrew Nimmo.

“These stadiums are buildings that should live for at least 50 to 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 says.

“It is not unreasonable to expect that it is time that both stadiums undergo significant upgrades to keep them commercially viable in the competitive world of major sporting events.”

“However, best practice, environmentally sustainable development will acknowledge 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. All of this needs to be taken into account when considering the business case,” Nimmo says.

The NSW government, unsurprisingly, has a different take on the situation.

We want the world’s biggest sporting clubs and artists to choose NSW as their preferred destination to showcase their events," says NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian.

“To compete globally and attract national and international events, our stadiums must have the most modern facilities that offer a great experience for fans.”

These new faciities will include a new $705 million, 45,000-seat stadium to replace Allianz at Moore Park with construction to start in 2018 and open in 2021, and a new $1.25 billion, 75,00-seat rectangular stadium to replace ANZ at Sydney Olympic Park, with construction to start in 2019 and open in 2022.

“Fans will be closer to the action than ever before, with steep seating creating a colosseum-inspired wall of sound and colour, enhanced with the world’s most advanced technology,” Berejiklian says.

“This is an investment into our vital tourism industry, which is worth $33.2 billion per year to the NSW economy and supports 164,000 jobs,” she says.

However, the AIA has gone on record as saying that “To demolish, rather than refurbish, seems like an extraordinary waste."