Capital cricket: Australia’s new simple yet sophisticated training centre

14 Jun 2019

A new sports destination is injecting pride to cricket in the Australian capital.

Completed in late 2017, the building was a joint venture between the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government and Cricket ACT to enhance the professional development of ACT cricketing teams.

First envisaged as a simple off-the-shelf shed, in fact the Cricket ACT Indoor training facility became an opportunity to develop a considered response to a constrained site and budget.

Principal architect Cassandra Keller describes the evolution of the design: “We brought together simple yet practical built components using a repetitive visual rhythm to make a building that works hard for its users.”

Good indoor cricket training requires flat lighting, minimising shadows and glare. Interlocking cellular polycarbonate walling that required no vertical framing created diffused southern lighting at a high level for this purpose. A grid of high-lux LED sports lighting then complemented this.

Not only does this make for good visibility during practice sessions but it also aids accurate data collection and analysis via specialist filming. These are all central to modern cricketers’ training.

At night the building becomes a ‘street lantern’, advertising its use and occupation but also maintaining privacy for elite athletes.

The main net area connects along its western end via roller doors and opens to outdoor pitches beyond. This space helps both the movement of people and equipment and is a spill-over area for large groups.

Alongside graphics featuring a batsman and bowler running in, the design of the façade on main street uses simple repeated elements, catching the eye of drivers and creating a harmonious rhythm.

Strategies put in place to manage upfront cost and ongoing maintenance included using low-cost exterior cladding, minimising areas of external walls, graphic artwork as graffiti prevention and judicious small colour elements to minimise repainting. The careful use of durable ply on the interior cements a high quality yet industrial finish.

The building is energy efficient, durable and utilitarian. Construction avoided high-embodied energy products and used recyclable steel throughout.

To reduce energy consumption, air conditioning is in the office space only with alternative cooling methods in place elsewhere: the main training areas uses the stack effect enhanced with mechanical exhaust; the southern side has low air intake to intake cool air while high on the north, exhaust fans pull the air through keeping the space cool throughout summer.

The Cricket ACT building has succeeded in challenging the preconceptions of budget and site constraints, resulting in a final space that is a vast improvement on the originally intended off-the-shelf shed. It now supports the ACT’s primary first-class cricket venue, providing a secondary, significant alternative and high-quality indoor sports training space.

The users take pride in a building that serves to promote and help their players' identity and the sport’s development, creating pride in the development of ACT Cricket. 

Cricket ACT was awarded a Commendation for Public Architecture at the 2019 ACT Chapter Architecture Awards by the Australian Institute of Architects.

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