10 Year Anniversary for AAMI Park

Today is the 10th year anniversary for AAMI Park – John Wiles reflects on an amazing project that redefined the spectator experience and community interactions that led to its success.

Looking back on the role stadiums and major event spaces play in our lives, I came across the photo below which pretty much sums it up for me. In a city where rugby and football did not have a world-class purpose-built venue at the time, Victorians delivered an outcome that initiated a positive platform for these sports to connect the grass-roots sports with the professional game.

Few would realise that apart from the award-winning design there is a deeper cultural story behind the stadium. The LED lighting display, and the soundscape connect  to the activities and celebrations that the original owners of the land would have had along the riverbank, to the way we live our lives today in communities around this beautiful country.

The soundscape is a collection of voices, songs, and other sound bites compiled by artists. It plays across the public open spaces and creates that sense of anticipation and activates what would otherwise be a very different place.

I wonder if the LED lights displaying an artwork and the soundscape are more vital now than when the stadium opened. These things required collaboration between government agencies, designers, artists, suppliers, constructors and redefined procurement approaches and delivery timelines to realise an exceptional outcome.

With the COVID-19 restrictions in place, I imagine AAMI Park, the lights gently pulsing, and the soundscape filling the streets, a heartbeat for sport and the arts, reminding us that what we enjoy in sport and the arts is still alive.