For most people, the Spring Racing Carnival in Melbourne means that about 3pm on the first Tuesday of November, the Television is focussed on 22 horses racing over 2 miles in 2 minutes. Win, lose or draw, that’s it. But for over 60,000 members of the VRC, it’s just part of the extravagance that is the Spring Racing Carnival at Flemington. And now it has a new home, a new flagship – the Flemington members new Grandstand.
This is no ordinary building. Like a giant layer cake, the Grandstand houses viewing platforms, seating restaurants and bars, the likes of which have never been seen before in Australia.
Designed by leading architect and interior design practice Bates Smart, the 5 level Club stand was completed on schedule by builders Multiplex.
Flemington has a long and interesting history. The first grandstand was built on the course in 1865. This structure is the 10th such Grandstand constructed over the last 150 years.
The Grandstand features ‘petal projections’ along the perimeter of the stand on each floor. This has been achieved using 90 pre-cast panels each weighing up to 30 tonnes.
Bates Smart-designed $128M Flemington Racecourse stand complete
Bates Smart director of Interior Design Jeff Copolov says the Club Stand celebrates the rich history and character of Flemington Racecourse with sweeping 360-degree views of the Mounting Yard, Race Track, Members Lawn, Parade Ring, Betting Ring and Winning Post.
VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott added that the Club was delighted to reach this significant milestone ahead of its hallmark events in the spring racing season.
Some of the design highlights of the Club Stand include ‘petal’ projections along the perimeter of the stand on each floor constructed using 90 precast panels, each weighing up to 30 tonnes; external walkway on the first floor wrapping around the Club Stand and connected to the existing Members Grandstand and Parade Ring; a new north-south corridor at the heart of the stand linking the Betting Ring with the Members Lawn and Mounting Yard; and the Roof Garden on Level Four offering landscaped open and enclosed spaces beneath canopies.
For further information on the Flemington Racecourse, its history, its development and the Grandstand project, please refer here to our blog of June 23rd, 2017.
Over 100,000 people have attended each day of the carnival at Flemington over the years. Here are the figures. Over the last few years with construction occurring, the crowd numbers have been lower, but with the new facility, this year the numbers are likely to be much higher.
Here are the figures since 2004.
No doubt there will be critics of the ‘Sport of kings’ but for the most part, the Carnival is immensely popular. The horses involved are pampered animals – lavished attention with no expense spared.
RVL Victoria and Racing NSW have introduced major programs to ensure horses enjoy retirement from the track. Many become dressage or showjumping competitors whilst other simply become riding hacks. No jumps racing occurs at Flemington.Whatever your opinions, the race that stops a nation will be run again this year at 3pm on Tuesday the 6th of November. Good luck if you’re in a sweep or having a flutter. Meanwhile enjoy the slideshow and pictures of the new Grandstand – it’s not called a ‘Grand’ stand for nothing.