In 2000, Lovell Chen prepared a conservation management plan for the Melbourne Cricket Ground, in association with Bryce Raworth. The ground was found to be of historical, social/spiritual and aesthetic significance at a state level, nationally and internationally.
As part of the CMP, a series of conservation-related objectives were developed, directed at recognising and maintaining the values of the place. The highest-priority identified was to maintain the pre-eminence of the MCG as the state’s best-loved and largest capacity sports ground and ensure its continued viability.
Recognition was also given to the commanding physical presence of the stadium and the clarity of its form viewed from close and afar, as well as its parkland setting. The focus on the status of the complex and its ongoing use reflects the evolved nature of the place, as despite a history going back to the 1850s, its heritage values are not embodied in early building fabric (of which little remains). The MCG is an unusual case — a heritage place where the fabric is not of great age but the values are very high.
The CMP was the basis for consideration of proposals for major upgrade works now completed, including the redevelopment of the Northern (Olympic) Stand, the Western (Ponsford) Stand and the 1928 Members Pavilion. We advised on the heritage implications and impacts, and the MCG was subsequently added to the National Heritage List.
Since then, Lovell Chen has advised and obtained appprovals for a series of projects, large and small, at the MCG and Yarra Park. All are generally associated with the need to maintain and upgrade facilities consistent with the requirements of the sporting codes, sports media and sporting public. Projects include grandstand, scoreboard and lighting upgrade works, hard and soft landscaping, signage development and the introduction of the Australia Post Avenue of Legends in Yarra Park.
Other related projects include an architectural history of the MCG, a heritage study for Melbourne and Olympic parks, a heritage impact statement for Yarra Park’s new water recycling facility and a heritage management plan for Yarra Park.
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