The Eric Tweedale Stadium is located within Granville Park, NSW. This was once a widely forested area and the stadium’s form and materiality respond to the site’s heritage and create a connection to its current sporting environment. Sustainable design was an important objective of the project, designed by dwp | design worldwide partnership, and timber construction was key to achieving this – low carbon, low waste, and high energy efficiency.

We spoke to Ivana Simkovic from dwp to find out more.

Congratulations to you and your team for making the shortlist! Was sustainability always an important consideration in the design of this project?

Sustainable design was definitely an important objective from the conception of the project and timber construction was key to achieving this. The goal was to demonstrate that this scale of building can be a highly sustainable development that is low carbon, low waste and highly energy efficient.

The goal was set both by us as architects, as we are strongly committed to sustainable design, irrespective of sector, and by the client who was committed to a sustainable approach and outcome for their community. The project sets strong internal sustainability targets around the flexibility and adaptability for future trends as well. There was a strong desire from the Council to also include biophilic elements and connection to the community.

What were the unique challenges you had to overcome with this project?

As with any project, challenges did arise throughout various stages of the design and construction; however, through a mutual vision and goal as well as effective open communication with the client, we were able to overcome any hurdles and reach the desired outcome.

One of the main challenges was around the procurement environment in regards to the supply of timber. The project had to be re-tendered due to high tender prices for the timber structure. An option that arose was to change the designed structure from timber to steel, which ultimately would have resulted in not achieving the sustainability goals that had been set and the Eric Tweedale stadium resembling most other suburban grandstands.

We were determined to stay loyal to the initial design intent and target and to set a benchmark for the community and we were extremely fortunate that the client shared this view and supported us in our continued efforts to find a solution.

The team worked with a timber supplier based in Austria, Europe. This also proved to create challenges in itself, particularly during the shop drawing process. It was imperative to make sure all details were checked and aligned with the rest of the precast and steel framing on site as any errors could have caused additional delays.

Like most projects that were built during Covid, the project was subjected to ongoing and ever changing restrictions, which made it very difficult for the team in multiple ways, including again, the procurement process even for local materials and supplies.

With it being a stadium project there would have been a strong focus on people right from the start and the original brief. Was ‘social sustainability’ a consideration in the design?

The community played a pivotal part of the entire project, right from the very beginning. Being a recreational facility for the community it was important that we understood their behaviour and their needs.

During the initial phases of working on this project we took time to meet the community, hear their voice and understand how we could best support them with this facility. We wanted to create an environment that would inspire sport and physical activity, community gatherings and socialisation and somewhere people felt a belonging.

Eric Tweedale Stadium

Going further, the design of the stadium, in addition to being sustainable, also pays homage to the environment that surrounds it, which allows the community to connect more organically. The stadium extends beyond the traditional perception of the suburban grandstand, catering for Cumberland City Council’s diverse community while remaining sympathetic to the environment and setting within the Granville Park.

Sustainability is becoming a strong driver in architecture and the construction industry. Do you think manufacturers are doing enough to deliver sustainable building materials that are also cost-effective to the market?

The industry and manufacturers in general are becoming more sustainable. Sustainable design is already becoming critical as construction companies are looking to reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint.

For some it is still just on paper rather than taking concrete actions but more and more companies and manufacturers are focusing on sustainability and how they can achieve it.

There is also a growing pressure from customers and owners to build more sustainable structures and as more demand for environmental consideration is growing, more consumers are questioning traditional construction methods and materials and pushing for more sustainable options.

What will winning an award with sustainability mean for you and dwp?

A lot! Winning an award for our sustainable design is something that we value strongly. We appreciate the industry recognition for our design work that is led by our ethos of ‘design for a better world’. Whilst there is a growing movement toward sustainable design, the implementation of such is often filled with hurdles and challenges.

We are grateful to work with clients who have the same values and goals of a sustainable future.

Image credits: Photographed by Brett Boardman and supplied by dwp.