The Glasshouse accommodates Collingwood Football Club’s growing administrative and training requirements, whilst also providing an opportunity to actively engage with Collingwood supporters and the broader community. From its inception the Glasshouse had very public aspirations, balanced within a framework of sporting and commercial enterprise, the building was intended to return (and improve) the public amenity lost following the demolition of the nearby Edwin Flack Pavilion. Occupying a difficult wedge of land between the historically significant former Olympic Pool, the Yarra River and Olympic Park Oval, the design contends with complex geometries, finite space and the daunting task of adding to one of Melbourne’s most significant architectural icons. Split over three levels, the café and main entry on the ground plane activate the building edge while reinforcing the public nature of the facility, snaring crowds that regularly fill Olympic Boulevard. From the main entry the building bifurcates into sports and training facilities on the lower level, or up half a level to the public function centre. The function venue on the upper level is provided with fenestration, following extensive thermal modelling, to both the river and the ovals, creating a unique space that capitalises on the spectacular views afforded to it. Highly crafted interiors respond to the building’s varying program, while an extensive AV integration, are both the result of close collaboration with the consultant team. On both the oval and river facades the new form responds to the lively chiaroscuro of the Olympic Pool’s exposed structure, reimagined as a series of facets that express the carefully detailed structure of the new building while continuing this play of light and shade across the facades, a subtle gesture which links the language of the two buildings without overt pastiche. On the east the building responds to the curving geometries of the oval, while the roof also gracefully arcs downward in a subtle avian gesture. The building’s palette is emblematic of the fine line the design of the building had to walk. The white brick and black express seam cladding befitting a contemporary public building, but also unmistakably a nod to the buildings happy new tenants.
Photography by Dianna Snape.