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WA Institute of Sport’s High Performance Service Centre and State Netball Centre make their debut

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The State Government of Western Australia (WA) recently opened two exciting new sporting facilities, the state-of the-art Western Australian Institute of Sport High Performance Service Centre (WAIS) – pictured above – and the State Netball Centre (SNC).

The Department of Sport and Recreation (DSR) has been the lead client agency on both projects and contributed more than AUD$60m in funding, via the Western Australian Government.

Both facilities are part of the WA State Government’s State Sporting Facilities Plan and part of an ongoing commitment to investing in major sporting infrastructure. This also includes the Wanneroo (Barbagallo) Raceway upgrade, nib Stadium redevelopment, as well as the new Perth Stadium, currently under construction.

DSR recognises its project partners in Department of Finance – Building Management and Works and VenuesWest.

Ron Alexander, Director General of the Department of Sport and Recreation, commented:

The Department of Sport and Recreation is committed to providing quality sporting and recreation facilities for people of all ages and abilities throughout the State.

While the WAIS High Performance Service Centre will be home to our elite athletes – and hopefully some Rio medal-winners – the athletes that train there are inspirations to everyone else playing sport in the community. They are also great role models to encourage young people to take up a sport.

In contrast to that, the State Netball Centre is a place where anyone of any age and ability can participate in netball. It’s a long-awaited hub and home for netball in WA and is a perfect example of how sport and recreation not only encourages a more active lifestyle but how it brings community together in a positive way.

We believe that when we play sport, our whole community wins. The benefits of playing sport and doing active recreation have enormous benefits other than just better physical and mental health. Being active creates social capital, fosters connected communities and can have a strong impact on keeping our young people engaged and out of trouble.

Project Stats: State Netball Centre (SNC)

Location: Selby Street, Wembley Sports Park, Jolimont

Construction start date: July 2013

Completion date: March 2015

Cost: AUD$26m


  • Four indoor netball courts
  • Spectator seating for 1,050 people
  • Nine competitor changeroom facilities, including a dedicated one for West Coast Fever
  • Kiosk facility
  • Office space for Netball WA and West Coast Fever
  • Universally accessible amenities
  • Injury prevention and rehabilitation room
  • Program room (multi-purpose room for workshops, presentations etc)
  • Multi-sport capacity – line marking for volleyball and badminton courts
  • Designed to accommodate sports wheelchair competitors and officials

Facility users: offices for Netball WA, training for West Coast Fever (state team) and games for West Australian Netball League (WANL).

The adjacent Matthews Netball Centre (which the State Government also funded), hosts an average of 600 teams in their winter season – around 6,000 players (of all ages) plus spectators. That equals more than 8000 games a season and is the biggest netball competition in the State.

The opening of the SNC was delayed in mid-2014 due to a fire which required the replacement of sports flooring, the eastern wall and roofing materials.

Design comments:

The design of the State Netball Centre creatively addresses both its public interface with Selby Street and its iconic role, marking the new main entry to the Wembley Sports Park. It is a multi-purpose, high performance and community sporting facility. In recognition of this functional requirement, the design team focused on an appropriate building typology for this sporting facility. It was strongly influenced by the importance and historical context of the development of netball in Western Australia and by the urban context in which it will be located.

The co-location and strong formal relationship between the SNC and the redeveloped Matthews Netball Centre highlights the historical continuity of netball in Western Australia at this site since 1961, including the 2nd World Netball Championships, with the facility accommodating community to high performance level netball.

The building actively reveals its function to the landscaped street in order to promote activation and encourage use and participation. The sculptural canopy element and partially glazed north-east corner of the building serves to further reveal and integrate the activities of the SNC with those of adjacent Matthews Netball Centre.

The concept of the built image is one of community participation and sporting excellence. Through architectural interpretation of site history, local topography and climatic conditions, the design team developed the built form, colour and pattern of the SNC (both externally and internally) as a highly legible sports facility which sits comfortably in its immediate context. Consistent with these contextual and conceptual influences, the external material and colour palette of the building is largely neutral and muted except for the continuous, blue aluminium fascia element, which serves to formally and visually unify the building.

The building envelope was designed with Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) strategies in mind, with the removal of hidden spaces around the perimeter, while also providing safe and sheltered open areas for netballers and the public to congregate and shelter from the weather.

Form and scale is driven by the height and volume of the sports court area. The height is determined by the minimum clear span requirements of indoor sporting competition. The design softens the visual and formal impact of this large main volume by articulating the smaller volumes of the ancillary building functions (foyer, administration offices, circulation spaces etc) that surround the main sports court area. The articulation of these separate elements, within a visually unified whole, both reduces the physical scale of the building and maintain the clarity and legibility of its individual parts.

The building has been oriented so the scale and configuration of each of its facades responds appropriately and sensitively to its urban context. In addition, each elevation responds both formally and functionally to its climatic orientation and passive design parameters.

Design/Build Team:

Architect: Sandover Pinder

Builder: PS Structures


Project Stats: WAIS

Location: McGilvray Road, Mt Claremont (at the rear of HBF Stadium). WAIS is the newest piece in the jigsaw of a sporting precinct in Perth’s Mt Claremont, which includes the development facilities in WA Athletics Stadium, Bendat Basketball Centre and WA Rugby Centre.

Start date: forward works June 2013 and main works November 2013

Completion date: April 2015

Cost: AUD$33.73m


  • A 625m2 multi-purpose indoor sport science testing area.
  • Hydrotherapy and recovery pools (260m2).
  • An 80m, five lane indoor athletics track including a complete pole vault setup (with decline mechanical runway section), ability for indoor javelin / throwing sports and a long jump pit.
  • Strength and conditioning gym – 715m2.
  • A 280m2 laboratory for the WA High Performance Sport Research centre, including a 70m2 heat/humidity/altitude laboratory.
  • Athlete amenities including study zone, kitchen and day area.
  • Altitude house for athletes to sleep over night at altitude.
  • Offices/administration for coaches and WAIS staff.
  • Provides a daily training environment for 285 high performance athletes, over 28 sports with 14 dedicated programs.

Facility users: WAIS athletes, staff, coaches, trainers and other sports experts.

Design comments:

The building form of the Western Australian Institute of Sport High Performance Service Centre (WAIS) is inspired by the examination of the elite athlete’s physique in performance. Thus the main elements of the building’s design (structure, cladding, services and specialist functional areas) are deliberately articulated as legible expressions of the relevant physiological elements of the human body: the skeleton, skin, muscle and internal organs.

The building’s form is contemporary and dynamic. Expressed structure and the use of a range of clean, strong materials are seen as recognisable visual cues to the sporting nature of the building. To create the sculptural form of the entry Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) was used. Material selection was guided by a desire for a slick, sleek finish, and of course something that could be formed into an organic shape was needed.

Key functions are aligned either side of a circulation spine running east-west through the length of the building. This double-storey space affords external views at each end of the building to assist with orientation and allows views from the upper level administrative accommodation through to training and testing spaces. The functional design of the building reflects current best practice with provision of a high quality internal environment: controlled acoustics, ample natural light, good indoor air quality, outlook with functional flexibility in an environment that reinforces the organisation’s identity and purpose. These principles have been established through research, experience and knowledge gained from visits to elite level sports facilities.

A key design feature is the connectivity between the administrative first floor and the state-of the-art testing and training spaces at the core of the building, taking advantage of increased height and voids, and allowing all support sectors of the organisation to visually interact with the heart of the facility.

Design/Build Team:

Architect: Sandover Pinder + dwp | Suters

Builder: Cockram Construction