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Bringing Coopers Stadium, a much-loved part of Adelaide’s sporting fabric since 1960, into the 21st century for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup – creating an elevated match day experience for all.
In sports-mad Adelaide, a city dotted with ovals for playing cricket and Aussie Rules, Coopers Stadium is a notable exception – a rectangular ground and the home of soccer in South Australia.
It also has the distinction of hosting the two highest profile sporting events ever staged in Adelaide – matches for the 2000 Olympics and 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the latter the catalyst for a major stadium upgrade led by Woods Bagot.
Talk to Thomas Masullo about Civic and Events
Before it would allow World Cup matches to be played at Coopers Stadium, home to the Adelaide United Football Club, FIFA required the stadium, which last had work done in the late 1990s for the Olympics, to be bought into the 21st century.
Creating a world class sporting facility by elevating the match day experience for all and broadcasting it to the world was Woods Bagot’s mantra throughout the project, beginning in 2021.
Major priorities were increasing spectator comfort and movement through the stadium, which has a capacity of 16,500 for sporting events (including the very occasional rugby match) and 26,000 for concerts.
The biggest move was addressing spectator exposure to rain and sun on the Eastern Stand by introducing a 2200 square metre cantilevered roof, while ensuring a sustainable outcome by retaining existing grandstand infrastructure.
A new glass-encased function room was built off the rear edge of the existing stand to cater for corporate match-day guests and independent events, above which the roof sits.
Its design bookends the Western Stand on the other side of the pitch, making the stadium feel complete.
Using the glass front and back of the corporate facility provides excellent line of sight to both the pitch and the nearby Adelaide CBD while lightening visual massing with see-through views for spectators in other parts of the stadium.
An added benefit of the additions is a substantial undercroft, improving public amenity underneath the Eastern Stand, extra shading and better public access.
The Western Stand was also upgraded with a new enclosed Media and Emergency Operations Centre. Nearby is a new reception and merchandising building.
Other changes include new light towers, big screens, updated seating throughout the stadium and two new food and beverage outlets.
Work on the $53 million project took a year, finishing well before the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, when the stadium hosted five matches featuring the likes of Brazil, England, France, South Koea and France with crowds of more than 13,000.
Funding was provided by the Government of South Australia with the development overseen by stadium operator, Adelaide Venue Management.
2023 AIA National Architecture Awards, SA Chapter – Public Architecture, Shortlist
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