Robbie Callanan: Stories of 2017
This is the ninth edition of our Conversations: Stories of 2017 series. Robbie Callanan is an architecture graduate specialising in the sporting sector, having worked on 3 major stadia projects during 2017.
My 10th year at Cox Architecture has been the most rewarding year yet. Working across several sports projects across of varying sizes and varying stages of completion, the year has been both a challenging and very busy one.
The most satisfying aspect of the year has been seeing projects that were in development for many years be used and occupied by the community.
As a cycling enthusiast, a unique experience was riding at the Anna Meares Velodrome, and receive accreditation to train and race on the new timber track. The joy of seeing many years hard architectural work come to fruition and being able to ride the track myself (as well as watching some of the fastest riders in the world use the track!) has been very exciting for me.
Throughout the year I have seen the Velodrome being used for an array of track competitions and various social sports and community uses which was a critical aspect of the design to provide the community with legacy uses beyond the Commonwealth games.
As well as seeing the Velodrome in full use, the project received many awards across Architecture, Construction and Consultant disciplines which is a testament to how well the project is being received.
This year we have been continuing to liaise with the local architects and builders for the Jakarta International Velodrome as construction continues to prepare for the Asian games in Jakarta 2018.
using our parametric modelling experience and knowledge learnt from the Anna Meares Velodrome design process enabled us to deliver a fast-tracked design period for the Jakarta Velodrome. This allowed construction and site works to begin very early in the design, which was a key due to a restricted construction timeline.
The project provided me with many unique challenges. As part of an international design consultant team communicating regularly across video conferences, we hit a few language and cultural barriers, as well as and construction methodology challenges, which added to the exciting experience of the design process.
In 2017, I have also returned to where I first began my journey at Cox; Townsville. Having previously worked on the Townsville Hospital as a student, I have spent the year working on a new 25,000 seat rectangular stadium.
Located in the CBD of Townsville in the shadow of Castle Hill, the site has presented many challenges and I have learnt an incredible amount as the team works through the complexities of working on a large stadium with many stakeholders. Working as a national practice, and using our large sports experience, the team is spread across Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney with local Architects in Townsville.
The new stadium has been a huge learning curve for me in the realm of large stadium projects and complex design and construction parameters that most would not realise go into the design of sports Stadia.
One piece of technology that continues to evolve how we work and present to clients on the stadium has been the introduction of a more usable Virtual Reality system for the practice.
Clients have been incredibly engaged and love to put the VR headset on and get to walk and sometimes fly around the model. This gives us immersive access to the huge amount of work that we put into our 3D models that previously would not have been truly understood through traditional documentation and a sense of freedom to interrogate what they want.
Looking forward, I have also been appointed to the Cox Futures Committee this year and I am very excited about the contribution that I can make to our company.