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Adelaide Oval, Australia

Chris Hodson

Bronze cladding and copper mesh help add an extra dimension of material quality to the sports stadia typology at the newly redeveloped Adelaide Oval - one of Australia’s most iconic sports venues, as Mee Kyong Kim of architects WALTERBROOKE (in association with lead architect Cox Architecture) explains.

Internationally known as one of the most picturesque test cricket venues in the world, the Adelaide Oval sits amongst historical gardens and trees in the parklands on the northern edge of the city’s central area, with a mound of fig trees, a heritage scoreboard and the spires of St. Peter’s Cathedral as a backdrop. The Adelaide Oval redevelopment now provides 50,000 spectator seats and ancillary facilities for cricket and Australian Rules football, as well as other sports and entertainment.

The new south and east stands reflect the character of the western grandstand redevelopment completed in 2010. The design is conceived as a series of pavilions in a parkland setting and the two new stands consist of strong precast concrete bases, bronze and copper clad facades, glazed curtain-walling, expressed precast concrete seating tiers and diagrid PTFE roofs. 

The palette of façade materials includes sandstone coloured concrete, glass, bronze and copper. This palette was inspired by the local context: bronze and copper from existing bronze sculptures in the parkland, and the sandstone coloured concrete from the masonry stone bases of historic buildings nearby. The bronze and copper facades will gradually weather to a dark reddish brown colour which will sit comfortably within the park landscape.

The copper mesh wraps and meanders around the external facades and stairs as a gentle, curved veil along the radial grids. A series of solid bronze volumes protrude though the veil and curtain-walled envelope. Each one is oriented to optimise views to St. Peter’s Cathedral, the gardens, the riverbank and central area, from the dining rooms and members’ bars. This material language is also applied to the internal atrium space.


The distinctive façade of the William Magarey Room, above the entrance and ticket office, is expressed with double-curved geometry and is inclined in a sectional plane. The overall scale of this façade dominates the south elevation and announces the main entry to the south stand. The curved form has been created from over 4,000 individual interlocking bronze panels. Each segment is exposed to different climatic conditions, generating subtle variations in weathered surface tones.

The bronze cladding flows underneath to form a reflective soffit to the entrance, then into the interior to define the solid mass, while blurring inside and outside boundaries. Copper mesh forms a secondary skin to fully glazed façades offering privacy and screening internal spaces from the harsh Australian sun. The rib profile mesh also provides weather protection for the external egress stairs.

The construction details of the copper mesh were developed to suit the local conditions with close collaboration between the architectural team, contractor, cladding installer and structural engineers. The main structural design driver of the fixing methods was the extremely high summer temperature in Adelaide. The stair screens were fabricated as cassette panels while the screens in front of the glazed facades were constructed as full height panels clamped tightly with continuous copper strips along the vertical panel edges.

The Adelaide Oval Redevelopment project is characterised by its landscape context, expressive facades and roof forms, and the application of rich, natural materials.



Adelaide Oval SMA
Completion date: 
Zip code: 
North Adelaide SA
War Memorial Dr


Transparent structures
Type of building: 
Sport, relaxation facilities
Copper used: 


Name, office: 
Cox Architecture as lead architect in association with WALTERBROOKE and Hames Sharley

Copper contractors

Cladding & Roofing Contractors PTY
Address & description: 
Copper Products: Nordic Bronze and TECU® Classic Rib Mesh

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