“The proposed stadium is too big for Mac Point”


In June this year, Bence Mulcahy used the dimensions and height made publicly available by the State Government to computer model the exact impact the proposed stadium will have on Hobart’s iconic Sullivans Cove.  The resultant image shows that the stadium will only just fit in the current site with the north end close against the Cenotaph escarpment and the south end right on Evans Street.

The methodology

Computer software was used to create a model the size and shape of the proposed stadium and to marry that with a standard photograph taken from Victoria Dock near Mures.

Shamus Mulcahy noted that the visual impact from many other parts of Hobart will be significantly worse, with the stadium more dominant in view lines.

Why it is accurate

The proposed stadium is 40 metres high, 240 metres long and 210 metres wide. There is limited information available but what is available is very clear and there is thus little opportunity for error.

Why a steel structure

A roof is not self-supporting and requires a structure.  None of the information available regarding the proposed Hobart stadium dimensions takes into account the additional height and visual bulk that this will add to the building.  The model conservatively approximates a typical structure for a stadium of this size if it is to support a fixed roof and concert infrastructure.


As there is no design yet for the stadium, nor is there any colour specified for the external walls, the render shows the stadium in a neutral concrete colour.  State government documents use the Melbourne Marvel (Docklands) Stadium as a key reference.  If the final stadium were to resemble Marvel Stadium in its finishes and styling, the visual impact on Sullivans Cove would be considerably worse than this render.

Stadium Too Large For Site

The dimensions of the stadium make minimal allowance for seating and public amenities and facilities (food/drink vendors, toilets etc.) outside the playing surface.  In addition, the government report states no allowance has been made for a concourse in the current dimensions.

Given that a stadium built to the Government’s dimensions only just fits on the current site, it is clear that Mac Point is not an appropriately sized location to accommodate a typical and workable stadium, and that the current stadium proposal is being compromised and manipulated to fit the site.

Project Risks

The danger in this is that, as the project develops, it will become increasingly evident that the site cannot practically accommodate it.  Compromises will be made, and there is every risk that the site will need redefining and parts of Evans Street, the wharf or Cenotaph hill may need to be subsumed in order to properly accommodate the stadium.

Second, the proposed stadium stretches all across the site and therefore divides the site in two parts (east and west).  There is little opportunity for movement through and around the site, and future opportunities such as transport routes are not feasible.

Third, these constraints of site and budget will make it extremely difficult to realise a stadium of the quality and with the amenity that people would expect of a 21st century stadium.

Fourth, there is no meaningful space left for any of the precinct projects the Tasmanian government has said will be built on the site and the Federal government says it is funding, such as an Indigenous Reconciliation Park.

Finally, there are solid grounds for arguing that the 40m height dimension used in the model is far too low and will prove unworkable.  Despite extensive research, Shamus has been unable to find a comparable example of a fixed roofed cricket oval sized arena in the world.  Even when considering structures for other sports, it is clear that most roofed arenas are typically taller than 40m.  Oft-cited examples of stadiums include Marvel (approx. 55m with overstructure) and Dunedin (a very small rugby stadium), 49m.  Examples from the US come in at 60 and 68m.

Shamus remains convinced of the truth of his initial reaction to the State Government’s stadium announcement – that all projects only grow; none ever get smaller, in both budget and size.  He concluded by noting that this would also be the first time a construction would not only bear no relation in scale and presentation to the adjoining built environment but, more egregiously, it would dominate the landscape – a heinous precedent.