Project 10

Margaret Court Arena

A high-speed ‘sun-roof’ swathed in COLORBOND® steel in the luxurious custom colour Copper Penny™ is a textbook example of how to become a sports facilities world-beater.

Community Buildings

Project Details


NH Architecture and Populous in joint venture


State Government Victoria

Project Team

Hamish Lyon, Richard Breslin, Lyndon Hayward, Paul Henry, Ralph Wheeler, Adrian Costa, Mun Ching Wong, Thuyai Chung, Wilko Doehring, Paul Foskett, Emily Kilvington, Astrid Jenkin, Dale Jennins, Michael Neve, Julie Rinaldi, Mieke Vinju

Structural & Civil Engineer


Aurecon Project Team

Mark Sheldon, Mark Waggoner (Walter P Moore), Peter Murenu, Warrick Plymin, Matt Johnson, Zac Hankin, Mark Spolidoro, Nathan Luke, James McFadyen


Lend Lease

Margaret Court Arena is the latest addition to a precinct giddy with expansion. A joint venture design by NH Architecture and Populous, the project is an arresting variation from the polite, white modernity of over-arching steel tubing, tensioned columns and Miesian planes.

Key to this is a high-speed ‘sun-roof’ for the $183 million project that offers premium seating for 7500 spectators. The roof made from COLORBOND® steel in LYSAGHT KLIP-LOK 700 HI-STRENGTH® profile is swathed in the luxurious custom Metallic colour Copper Penny™ to the last centimetre and is a signature element of the project.

While many rooftops are the repository of cluttered mechanical services, the 57m x 64m operable rooftop here handsomely caps a sleek entity. NH Architecture’s project team leader Wilko Doehring describes the high-speed roof – capable of opening or closing in less than five minutes – as “a Lamborghini”. Such speeds make the once wunderkind roof of Rod Laver Arena (25 minutes) appear sluggish.

But the new facility and its roof are much more than purely about speed. The project underwent an intensive weight-loss program from its conception and the result is a spectacularly slender sheath of metal barely one metre deep. Doehring says the design goal was to produce the most elegant, lightweight and streamlined solution. He explains how the engineering, fabrication and construction teams worked tirelessly to produce a roof barely half the height of a man or woman.

“It very much reflects this age and takes a micro view of the world, of incredible miniaturisation and slenderness not previously possible,” Doehring says.