13 Dec 22

Woods Bagot to lead design of new Caulfield Racecourse grandstand, cornerstone of MRC Caulfield masterplan

Caulfield Cup Carnival Melbourne Cup Racing clock tower

Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) has appointed global architecture firm Woods Bagot to lead the redevelopment of the Caulfield Racecourse grandstand, centrepiece of the Caulfield masterplan announced in 2019.

Under the masterplan, Caulfield Racecourse will be transformed into a world class racing, event and recreation destination for members, participants, guests and the local community. 

Woods Bagot will lead a collective of creatives, each with tremendous and contagious ambition to sensitively usher in a new era of the Racecourse. 

“Our ambition is to re-create the Caulfield experience for the next generation, and we’re excited to bring the MRC members on this journey with us,” says Woods Bagot Principal Sarah Ball. 

 “We want to imbue the best qualities of a horse race into the architecture; brought to life through characterful and activated spaces that capture the imagination of visitors,” says Ball. 

The design firm, which has more than 150 years of experience delivering projects locally and globally, brings rich and deep expertise to civic and event design. 

This year’s completion of the award-winning Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, stage 1 and 2 of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, and the Royal Randwick Members Club showcase this depth of understanding for visitor-focused spatial design.

Designed in association with Ralph Wheeler Architects, together the team is working closely with members to re-imagine the grandstand as activator and landmark of the Victorian icon. 

A central theme that emerged from feedback from MRC members was a desire that the grandstand nod to the tradition of horseracing while also attracting the next generation of fans. 

With this mandate, Woods Bagot is reimagining the typology of the grandstand – thinking of it as a landscape, as a series of terraces, bringing a bold, dynamic, and modern energy to the whole of the precinct.

The new grandstand will offer world class facilities, improved viewing and modern amenities, and an expansion of the variety of areas for members to visit and watch the races. 

The redesign will also see an increase in the diversity of spaces on offer, so that the grandstand caters to more than the racing aficionados but is itself a vibrant social venue with a significant elevation in the bar and dining options available to guests. 

“Surrounded by nature, augmented by technology, and layered with experiences, this is a building that will rejuvenate the Caulfield experience. It will activate the everyday, evolve with the times, surge with the crowds, and be electrified by the thrill of the race day,” says Bruno Mendes, Principal, and Global Sector Leader – Civic and Events, Woods Bagot.  

“This is a transformation of Caulfield Racecourse into a sporting and entertainment precinct – ensuring its future and cementing it as a venue to watch world class racing in world class facilities,” adds Mendes. 

“Always staying true to its heart and soul, preserving its rich history but moving forward with the times to ensure it is a sport for everyone. A place for everyone.” 

MRC Chairman Matthew Cain welcomed the appointment of Woods Bagot.

“The Melbourne Racing Club is thrilled to partner with esteemed architecture firm Woods Bagot on this iconic project and we’re excited to see the concept unfold over the coming years,” Mr Cain says.

Renders of the possible grandstand designs will be made available in 2023.


Feature image sourced from MRC Foundation.


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Tili Bensley-Nettheim
Content and Communications Specialist – Australia & New Zealand

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