The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) has revealed plans to build a new grandstand at Flemington, Melbourne, in preparation for the 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Designed by Bates Smart, the new Club Stand will replace the existing Member’s Old Grandstand, which the VRC says is nearing the end of its useful life.

The proposed Club Stand will occupy virtually the same footprint as the Members’ Old Grandstand, although it will provide increased capacity and more diverse venues to cater to contemporary expectations. 

The new building will feature a soft curvilinear form, drawing inspiration from Flemington’s garden setting. Flower and petal shapes and forms echo throughout the design, with the soft form, which radiates around each side, ensuring direct engagement for Members within the interior spaces and balconies to the facilities beyond. 

Material, pattern, pictorial and artifact references and displays that tell the story of the Flemington Racecourse and the VRC will form the fabric of the new Club. This extends into interior spaces, which will be imbued with a sense of history featuring elements of the past, yet interpreted with clean and sophisticated lines in a modern style.

Within, a centrally located atrium space with a sweeping staircase will welcome Members into the Club Stand, with lifts, escalators and stairs providing access to all floors.

Standing five storeys high, the new Club Stand will offer occupants 360 degree views of the Mounting Yard, race track and Members’ Lawn to the south. To the east, the Parade Ring and raceday horse stalls will be in full view.

To the north, spectators will have visual access to the betting ring, and existing grandstands and the winning post to the west. 

An external walkway on the first floor will wrap around the entire perimeter of the new building, providing connectivity to the existing Members’ Stand and Parade Ring. The central, north-south corridor will link the Betting Ring with the Members’ Lawn.

The enlarged Members’ Lawn will flow seamlessly to the level one function spaces through a grand sloping lower tier of seating, which encompasses viewing platforms, gardens and seating areas. 

On the top level, a rooftop garden will enhance the garden theme of the race course, featuring a combination of soft and hard landscaped areas and enclosed spaces. This area will be over-sailed by strongly expressed roof canopies that are architecturally consistent with the spirit of the Melbourne Cup. 

Construction of the new Club Stand is expected to start after the 2015 Melbourne Cup Carnival. As part of the 2025 Masterplan, the VRC will also construct a new pavilion for owners and trainers between the Club Stand and the existing Members’ Grandstand. 

The VRC has been the custodian of Flemington and the Melbourne Cup for 150 years.