Local architect calls Brisbane Olympic stadium builds a “joke” 

Jarrod Brown
By Jarrod Brown
5 Min Read

 A Brisbane architect has put forward a bold new proposal for the 2032 Olympic Games that would merge parts of the city into a “Gabba Olympic Park”.

The bold new direction would include a 17,000-seat Aquatic and Entertainment arena set above Woolloongaabba Cross River Rail station, connected to a renewed 55,000-set Gabba stadium that replaces the upgrades the Aussie sporting icon. 

Local architecture firm Hayes Anderson Lynch Architects said the proposal would host both swimming and athletic events under the same proverbial roof, creating a single “vibrant” hub for competitors and spectators alike. 

“Our proposal creates a legacy of a unique entertainment and sporting precinct, with a distinctive Queensland feel, located in the inner city and above a newly built train station,” said architect Elizabeth Anderson

“Brisbane needs a new entertainment centre and a new stadium anyway, so it makes sense to combine both into one precinct; with 50% funding from the Federal Government, we are offering Queensland an extraordinary opportunity at half the cost!”

The proposal also aligns with Premier Steven Miles and Opposition Leader David Crisafulli’s vision to avoid building a $3.4 billion third stadium in Victoria Park, which Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk recommended in his Olympic review. 

When rejecting the proposed stadium, Premier Miles said he wanted the construction of a new Olympic arena to give Queenslanders “bang for their buck and a lasting legacy”.

“No one wants to see money spent on facilities that are only needed for four weeks,” Miles told reporters last week. 

According to the architects, centralising both the swimming and athletics to one precinct would do just that, further reducing construction costs, improving construction efficiency, and saving the project an estimated $1 billion. 

“As local architects based at Kangaroo Point, our vision is for an iconic Olympic legacy for Brisbane, just like Expo88 was for Southbank,” said Anderson. 

This Gabba Olympic Park also claims to reduce costs by taking advantage of the “already comprehensive” transport infrastructure network, which includes a new train station, a new metro station, and existing bus interchanges.

Long live the Gabba

The proposal comes only days after the Queensland Government rejected a plan to rebuild the Gabba, claiming the stadium was “in poor condition” and the cost of upgrading an aging venue too expensive.

But there is hope yet to see Queensland’s sporting home return in all its glory. Premier Miles declared last week that, Olympics or not, the stadium would “continue to be our main oval field” and money would be invested “to make it better” for both AFL and cricket.

Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley also joined the fight, urging the state government to take the chance and make a “transformational change” for the Olympics in order to keep the future of sports on Queensland soil. 

“We’ve talked about the Perth Test; we’ve seen how having a city-centre, state-of-the-art stadium can be the catalyst for sport but (also) more major events,” Hockley said on Wednesday after the Gabba lost the traditional first test match to Perths’ Optus stadium this summer.

“The reality is the other major metros, now Tasmania with the prospect of a new stadium there, are well ahead in terms of the fan experience, the provision for players, just the ease of operation.

“From having worked on the London Olympics, you don’t get many opportunities for a real transformational change and the catalyst to invest.”

For Ms Anderson, reviving the Gabba is the only real choice for holding the Olympic Games in 2032, and declared all other Olympic stadium locations a “joke”. 

“Woolloongabba is perfectly located, sized, and serviced to feature Brisbane on the world stage,” she said. 

“In the short and long term, it is the only location that makes any sense for sports and entertainment in Brisbane.”

“Why would we destroy koala habitats or change a beautiful inner-city park when we have a superior location on our CBD doorstep?”

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Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.