< Tennis >


'Melbourne Park - Show Court Arena'

  Melbourne, Victoria 

Lead Architects: NH Architecture + Snøhetta

Sports Architect: RWA Sports Architecture

Sports Architects: Ralph Wheeler and Rick Chen

Following our previous successful collaboration on the Melbourne Park Masterplan for Stage 3, RWA have teamed up with NH Architecture + Snøhetta to design the much anticipated Show Court Arena.   This new venue will have a total capacity for tennis of 5000 seats making it the largest open-air Show Court at Melbourne Park.  Although it will be used during the Australian Open for tennis, the seating bowl can be used year round for live music concerts and festivals. The seating bowl has been configured with removable seats to allow a stage to be erected at the northern end with operational access for vehicles to court level during event bump in/bump out.  RWA were instrumental in the design of the innovative seating bowl that will boast the best sight lines of any venue at Melbourne Park.  Enhanced amenity seating and a generous number of wheelchair platforms also make this venue a market leader in universal accessibility.  The field of play size is consistent with Show Court 2 and Show Court 3 with single tiers on all four sides of the court with radial corners to maximise seating capacity and intimacy.


‘Pat Rafter Arena’

 Tennyson, Queensland 

Lead Architect: Populous 

Engaged to perform architectural services as an employee of Populous: Ralph Wheeler

Pat Rafter Arena is Centre Court at the Queensland Tennis Centre. A significant feature of the purpose-built facility is that it provides a fixed roof solution to permanently shelter 5,500 spectators from the heat and rain, whilst still maintaining the atmosphere and tournament status of an  outdoor event. The roof, designed to act as both parasol and umbrella to over both the court and the spectators, provides a cost effective and practical solution that enhances the characteristics that are special to tennis. The facility caters for both top-class and community tennis. Each year it hosts the Brisbane International tennis tournament (ATP World Tour 250 Series), a precursor to the Australian Open Grand Slam in Melbourne.


‘Queensland Tennis Centre Masterplan’

Tennyson, Queensland

Lead Architect: Populous

Engaged to perform architectural services as an employee of Populous: Ralph Wheeler

This masterplan was prepared for Stadiums Queensland to investigate the potential future development opportunities for the Queensland Tennis Centre at Tennyson, Queensland. The primary objective of the masterplan is to understand how the existing facility could be expanded in size to meet future spectator capacity expectations, particularly in light of the success of its flagship event, the Brisbane International. The masterplan investigates the possibility of expanding the tennis facilities to cater for a site capacity of 15,000 patrons. Whilst this may not be achievable at the outset, it is envisaged that the masterplan could be implemented using a series of construction stages to achieve the redevelopment goals.


‘Margaret Court Arena’

Melbourne Park, Victoria 

Lead Architects: NH Architecture + Populous 

Engaged to perform architectural services as an employee of Populous: Ralph Wheeler

The redeveloped Margaret Court Arena has once again put Melbourne Park at the forefront of world class arena design and innovation.  Although the primary impetus for the redevelopment was driven by the desire to maintain the Australian Open’s place at the forefront of world tennis, the venue is a truly multi-purpose facility with the flexibility to successfully host other sports, including basketball and netball, as well as a range of premier concerts & public events. The $183M redevelopment includes seating for 7500 spectators, fully glazed internal concourses and the fastest retractable roof of its kind in the world with a closing time of less than 5 minutes. The venue incorporates numerous sustainability initiatives that have contributed to it becoming the first LEED Gold accredited arena in Australia.


‘MOPT Masterplan Stages 1, 2 & 3’

Melbourne Park, Victoria 

Lead Architects Stage 1: Populous + Cox 

Engaged to perform architectural services as an employee of Populous: Ralph Wheeler

Lead Architects Stage 2: Populous + NH Architecture 

Engaged to perform architectural services as an employee of Populous: Ralph Wheeler 

Lead Architects Stage 3: NH Architecture + RWA 

Project Architect: Ralph Wheeler

Over the past decade three separate detailed Masterplan projects have been completed for Melbourne and Olympic Parks - Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3.  These Masterplans were completed in 2008, 2012 and 2017 respectively.  Each focussed on a common vision to retain Melbourne and Olympic Parks’ position as Australia’s premier integrated sports and entertainment precinct. The three distinct implementation stages identify  over $1.1B of new building works, infrastructure and landscaping over a 15 year period.  Ralph’s leadership spans all three of these Masterplan projects making him a highly unique and valuable asset to the client's redevelopment team.


‘ASB Tennis Centre Redevelopment’

Auckland, New Zealand

Lead Architect: Jasmax

Sports Architect: Populous

Engaged to perform architectural services as an employee of Populous: Ralph Wheeler

The ASB Tennis Centre is the pre-eminent tennis venue in New Zealand hosting two major tournaments each year - the Heineken Open for men and the ASB Classic for women. The rest of the year centre court can be hired for social tennis. The proposed redevelopment will allow the venue to become a multi-purpose venue capable of hosting world class tennis as well as concerts and secondary sports such as netball, basketball and beach volleyball. The centre court will increase its seating capacity to 3500 seats to satisfy ITF requirements for ATP World Tour 250 Series tournaments. The Project Brief was a critical guiding document for the final design completed by Jasmax.


‘New South Wales Tennis Centre Feasibility Study’

 Sydney, New South Wales 

Lead Architects: NH Architecture + RWA 

Project Architect: Ralph Wheeler

This feasibility study was undertaken to investigate whether the existing Wentworth Park could be redeveloped into a world class tennis centre capable of hosting the Sydney International Tennis Tournament. A number of site layout options were proposed to illustrate how match courts, carparking and a new 10,000 seat centre court could be located within the existing parkland whilst retaining sufficient open space and amenity for local residents. The study assumed the existing greyhound racing facility would be demolished to make way for the new tennis centre. The feasibility study was presented to UrbanGrowth NSW to facilitate funding by State government.