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This research paper aims to identify the developments
of western physical culture throughout various historical
social contexts, with the intention of gaining an
appreciation for the current context within which a small
sustainable sporting facility would be placed. The resultant
activity landscapes and changing participation opportunities
of these context developments form a main focus. Modern
sporting characteristics (from Guttmann) have been
identified as representing the recognisable, global dominant
paradigm and pre-modern and post-modern sporting landscapes
are then considered most effectively compared to this
central position. Analysis of historical precedent as it
relates to the present day is considered an important part
of design methodology. A broad current international context
(considered Post-modern) emerges, from which closer national
(Australian) and local conditions (Flemington, Melbourne)
are then further surveyed to be acted upon for the design of
a sustainable sports facility that aims to encourage, or
increase, participation 'for all' as a health and well being


Diagram 1a The Ages of Sport (Werk,Beuen )


Our era is characterised by intense professionalism in
sport, with a resultant ‘celebrity athlete’ and elite sport
bias. This situation has led to an emergence of a greater
magnification of sport as entertainment and commodity, with
subsequent trends toward spectating as opposed to
participating. Participation in sport is currently deemed a
health and development issue, especially amongst younger
people where diet and activity levels are suffering from
sedentary lifestyle pressures. Alienation of marginal or
ethnic groups that restrict participation in 'exercise' is
also considered an issue, with aims to cultivate the
potential of physical activity's importance toward social
interaction and development. The large number of sport and
recreation centres being developed as an integral part of
new urban renewal programs and incorporated into other civic


programs attests to this, along with the increasing emphasis

being placed by governing bodies on the role sport and
sports centres might play in developing countries as a way
toward social inclusion, community building, and
Physical culture has an undeniable presence in society
that extends back to primitive civilizations. Throughout
history physical culture and the facilities or landscape
that contain these activities have reflected and been shaped
by the society they are a part of. In his articles on
popular culture, James Martens characterises sport in each
successive era of human history as being both a reflection
of the civilisation in which it functions and integrally
related to that society’s political and social needs. He
continues that the landscapes of physical culture are a
result of the relationship between established authority and
the lower classes and, consequently, changes within each
society are mirrored by changes in these landscapes and
activities. (Martens, retrieved May 2005) The purpose of
this essay is not to define a position on the politics of
sport but to conduct a survey on the facilities and
landscapes that have resulted from or that house the
activities of physical culture within specific social
contexts through time. As such, the focus is on certain eras
from the ancients to the modern day to trace the changing
motivations toward play and competition, which essentially
lead to the emergence of what we identify as sport. The
potency of sporting facilities in conveying an image or
ideology is also recognised, particularly throughout the
Olympic Games of the twentieth century. Here, I am referring
not only to the Berlin games in the Nazi era, but also such
representations as Tange’s facilities designed for the Tokyo
Olympics as a visible indication of Japanese ingenuity and
modernity after World War II. More recently the Olympic
Games and large sporting festivals in general, such as the
recently held Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, show how
sport is intricately entwined in the political and
economical structures of world cities, seen to stimulate
growth, encourage tourism and market image. These broader
areas of study are recognised but not inherently focused
upon in the paper, as the programme for the planned sports
facility will be on a smaller scale, and participation at a
grass roots level is the main intention.



Diagram 2a: (Eichberg's Trialectic of Body Culture)

A definition of the term ‘sport’ was required that

would serve to place it more clearly within what is a
broader area of study, alternately identified through key
texts as body culture, movement culture (Eichberg, Bale),
physical culture and as a component of play (Guttmann). The
key texts form the sociological basis through which sport is
defined and differentiated within the overall changing
historical contexts and landscapes. Elements such as
Eichberg’s Trialectic of Body Culture(Diagram 2a) and
Guttmann’s paradigm of play and characteristics of modern
sport(Diagrams 2b and 2c) serve as consistent analysis tools
against which historical developments can be reviewed and
further appreciated. The breadth of the study, and context
of the research, limit the scope to a largely western bias,
although eastern developments will be touched upon as they
apply to more recent developments.


Diagram 2b: (Guttmann's Paradigm of Play)

Diagram 2c: (Guttmann's Characteristics of Modern Sport)



The ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome had very
strong, readily identifiable physical cultures. The interest
is in how they differed and how these differences manifested
in the facilities created for the sporting event.
In ancient Greece sport and the games were entwined with the
rituals and festivals that bound together the various
independent city states.

-Entrance to the arena at Olympia

-Spectator berming at the Olympia ruins

In a sense they formed a more holistic part of the

culture in that contests and athletics were not only deemed
an illustration of competitive spirit but as having a direct
role within Greek religion and the gods. In keeping with the
Greek ideals of strength and beauty, the games were
performed for the gods and victory or success as an
indication of being chosen by the gods. (Martens, retrieved
May 2005) Such entrenched notions of honour created enormous
accolades on victors, and the inter-polis rivalry that
ensued because of this importance provided a substitute for
military combat. The opportunity for political stability the
games offered was recognised, but chiefly the religious
festival was paramount.(Martens, retrieved May 2005)
With the games associated so directly to the immortals
the settings for the games were also located at the


-The Olympian sacred site

religious shrines and ritual places. These shrines were

located outside of any particular city-state. Sites such as
Delphi, Delos and Olympia, were chosen for their direct
setting in the landscape and provided a neutral environment
whereby the opportunity for political negotiation was also
available. Sport here is an avenue to social and political
stability. In this respect it is interesting to note that
that sites for the games began as offering sites, sacred
sites, before being appropriated as a place for the actions
of mortals. In contrast, modern sporting stadiums, often
sited for functional or pragmatic reasons, work in the
opposite way by attracting myth and giving a special
importance to areas of the city through their use and the
stories generated from them.
The prestige of the Greek games limited participation
to wealthy families, generating further honour from any
victories. The pressure to receive such accolades from the
gods resulted in ever increasing measures toward victory and
eventually to a substitution from a focus on the religious
festival to one of winning.(Golden, 1998) Subsequent
corruption, disloyalty and avenues for enhanced performance
emerged. The focus on the athlete replaced that of the
religious and special considerations and pampering of
potential athletes resulted in an industry of groomers and
agents. These developments led to many citizens preferring
to spectate, and allowed non-citizen athletes to compete. In
a development that can be seen repeated again and again in
the evolution of sport, the ideal amateur was replaced by
the professional elite athlete, and the spectator element of
the event increased. The idea of the amateur is itself a
contentious issue, and is being considered not entirely
accurate but a product of the thinking and romanticism of
the neo-classicist view.(Guttmann, 1978, p.27)

Roman sport and physical education, like much else of

the pragmatic, utilitarian nation, derived from aspects of


other cultures. Influence came from the Etruscans and the

Greeks. Mechinkoff and Este suggest that the Etruscan
fascination with death was a major influence on the arena
games.(Mechikoff and Estes, 1993, p.47) Greek athleticism
and the intensity of the Greek athletes did not suit the
Roman temperament. The Romans generally preferred lighter
exercise or viewed sport and exercise as largely beneficial
to the development of soldiers; as a means to discipline,
courage and team work. Whereas the Greeks revered the
development of the whole, the Roman utilized more brutal
methods of training the body.(Mechikoff and Estes, 1993,

-Roman fresco depicting early

ball games

-Interior view of a Caracalla thermae

in Rome

In the early Republic, baths and thermae were very

popular, with ball games considered strenuous enough
activity to work up a sweat before bathing rather than to
engage in serious competition. The thermae were large public
bathing houses, vast and full of light, where bathing and
health gymnastics were important aspects of overall health
of mind and body. Apart from these facilities, there also
existed the military training areas such as the Campus
Martinus. A large open area with a temple dedicated to Mars,
the god of war, the Campus was where boys were taught skills
such as running, jumping, swimming, wrestling, horsemanship,
boxing, fencing, archery and obedience. It is an example of


the flattening of the landscape and creation of the activity

‘field’ which is a consistent quality of sports facilities
in the modern period. A famous physician of the time (AD130-
200), Galen, exhorted against complete adherence to physical
fitness at the expense of other activities, stressing
moderation in all things.(Mechikoff and Estes, 1993, p.44)
These, and his thoughts on games needing an element of
delight for the mind, echoes in this era of professionalism
where the trend is for young athletes of today to chase fame
and wealth at the expense of education. A consistent aspect
of both Greek and Roman sporting pursuits is the philosophy
of working both mind and body, exercise and music.
As the Republic progressed, political holidays were
introduced where businesses would close and free entry to
sporting events was offered. The result of these spectacles
was the loss of participation in sport and the formation of
a nation of spectators. Political control used for the
pacification of the masses to stave off boredom fueled such
spectacles, which culminated in the ‘blood sports’ of the
Empire. The archetypal sports stadium, the Coliseum, was
built to house these spectacles in AD80. Oval shaped, it was
four tiers high and had eighty entrances. The oval form
allowed it to survey the entire city and when full, its size
announced the public gathering of the Roman citizenry. The
tiering reinforces the stratification of society with
different sections offering a greater vantage and level of
finish that reflected the status of the spectator. Another
archetypal facility of the time of the spectacles was the
Circus Maximus which served a similar social purpose. Both
of these facilities are readily identifiable archetypes
still visible today in the form of the stadia and the

-Models of the Coliseum

in Rome

Such settings for event and spectacle in both Greece

and Rome suggest the creation of specialised sites for


sporting activities. This indicates the ancient attitude to

sport may be more closely aligned to the modern than the
medieval and primitive. Modern processes of standardisation,
measurement, recording and precision- all leading to a mono-
functional sporting environment- reflects some of the
ancient tradition of controlling the event in some way and
the hierarchy of achievement. However, Bale suggests that
the ancient practices were not entirely standardised, as in
the modern world, mainly because ‘records’, and therefore
constant progress and linear time movement were not as
important as immediate victory over an opponent.(Bale, 1994,
p.21) Subsequently, the nature of the performance did not
necessarily require a landscape of performance. The
landscape of performance is a result of the rationalisation
tendencies of industry in the modern world.


The Middle Ages heralds a change in the use of
landscape from the ancient, and a change therefore in the
physical culture relationships that are apparent. In pre-
modern times (pre- Renaissance) there was very little
difference between what a modern would term sport, pastime,
and recreation. Carter quotes Harris as stating that, “
medieval times the word ‘sport’ covers every diversion by
which a man disports or amuses himself in his leisure time,
it is essentially the antithesis of work.”(cited in Carter,
1984, p.18)

-Medieval games in the streets


Bale terms the modern characteristics of sport as being

‘sportised.’(Bale, 1994, p.16) This indicates the
transformation of sport in modern times into a sportscape as
opposed to a landscape. Before this, in pre-modern times,
the segmentation of time and space did not exist and sport,
or folk games, were conducted throughout the streets and
fields of the urban or rural setting. As a result of
modernisation and the emergence of measure, record and time,
folk games and play became ‘sportised’, which led to
divisions between sport and non-sport, and demarcation
between sports. Subsequently, an increase in functional
‘containers’ developed, moving indoors under controlled
conditions to ‘equalise’ competition.(Eichberg et al., 1998,
p.62) These changes occur within changing social, economic
and political contexts in history and will be expanded upon
further along in the industrialisation period review.
The pre-modern period, where rough and tumble games
were played throughout the towns, represents the a-
productive approach in the trialectic; games played for
identity. They were often between different villages and
invariably violent. Surfaces of the buildings were used,
utilising the existing surrounding landscape. Such games
were essentially local and benefited the ‘team’ who had
local knowledge, requiring an explanation of the
‘rules’.(Carter, 1981) Social division was not as pronounced
at this time as it would become in modernity. The blood
sports in England for example, such as cockfighting or bull
baiting occurred in taverns or backstreet halls attended by
peasants and kings alike.(Carter, 1984)
The Renaissance era equally enjoyed such folk games. A
football game known as calcio for instance was played in the
squares and streets. However, the advent of humanism and
scientific enquiry influenced the ‘perfection’ of games and
with the emergence in theories of ideal, planned cities came
a re-evaluation of the location for games. Increasingly the
city streets became a representation of the ideal city
instead of the place of activity. Increasingly also, the
activities of ball games were enclosed into indoor spaces,
designed not only to separate classes but often, as in the
case of royal tennis, the building itself served as the
playing surface.(Bale, 1994, p.26)


-Royal tennis uses the building itself as the


Already here, the degree of enclosure was related to the

social class, with the upper classes housed in closed,
covered spaces while the lower classes watched athletics and
animal sports in open arenas. Other upper class activities
such as fencing, gymnastics and equestrian took place in
country mansions. Although enclosed these spaces were not
yet standardised or specialised.(Eichberg et al., 1998,
p.50) The health of both mind and body remained an important
feature in the Renaissance period and the use of noble
sporting activities such as the joust or fencing continued
to have a militaristic benefit, as well as providing
opportunities for
the display of power.

-Public displays of power through

the jousting match


Folk games continued to be played to some extent

through the streets and fields of entire towns up until the
nineteenth century. Earlier attempts by Puritans to restrict
these often unruly games had met with limited success. The
Church first supported the folk games, allowing the venting
and play to occur within the church grounds as part of
various festivals. However, the violence and drunkenness
that often followed such occasions led to protests of the
appropriateness of these games toward God.
Economic imperatives were the main catalyst toward
rationalising the spatial requirements of sports. Commercial
imperatives of the growing middle class in the early
nineteenth century led to restrictions due to the need for
efficiency and profitability in the growing city markets and
streets.(Eichberg et al., 1998, p.28)


The rise of industrialisation had an indelible impact
on the development of the nature of play and sports. In
parallel to this though was the equally influential
development of Romanticism. The mathematical, empirical,
scientific world view that is the result of Enlightenment
thinking, coupled with the changing social structure of
society from rule by feudal nobility to the bourgeoisie
middle classes, all lead to the evolution to what we now can
identify as the characteristics of modern sport. Guttman has
classified these characteristics as:
-equality of opportunity to compete
-specialisation of roles
-bureaucratic organisation
-the quest for records (Guttmann, 1978, p.16)
All of these characteristics relate to the modern
predilection for the idea of progress, for competition and
for the constant pursuit of better and faster achievement.
This appears to be the dominant face of elite sport in the
modern day, but the development of sport in the nineteenth
century was not all the one way. Criticism of the
competitive and alienating aspect of competitive sport (the
English model) emerged in countries such as Germany and
Sweden. Nationalism and the Romantic Movement, especially in
the German situation, produced attitudes to sport that were
directly opposed to the English direction. The Romantic
nationalists considered modern sporting developments as
liberal, rational, international and un-German.(Guttmann,


1978, p.88) The contrast in the facilities and landscapes

that contained these differing views of what physical
activity should be is also apparent. A typical quote from
the Romantics called for , “…a renunciation of concrete
stadium, cinder track, tape measure, stop watch, manicured
lawn, and track shoes(English)….in their place comes the
simple meadow, free nature (German).”(Guttmann, 1978, p.88)
These developments can be considered further.

-Collage on Modern sporting characteristics

Developments in European, particularly Western European

society are crucial to an understanding of much of what
defines the sporting environment today. Aspects of the
urbanisation process following the French revolution and the
emergence of Enlightenment thinking radically changed the
socialisation process in Western Europe. The large
bureaucracies that emerged, the separation of the family and
workplace, and the growth of institutionalisation all led to


increasing regularisation and specialisation. Nationalism

and the nation state also emerged. Such changes brought
about changes in the concepts of physical culture and these
differed depending on the differing contexts and conditions
of each country. Three prominent directions emerged during
the nineteenth century; German Turnen, Swedish gymnastics
and English sport.
German Turnen was initiated by Friedrich Jahn as a
nationalistic education at the time Germany was developing a
state. It involves all kinds of exercise on apparatus,
games, traditional forms of exercise such as running,
jumping and lifting weights, as well as swimming, fencing
and wrestling.(Pfister, 2003, p.66)

-German Turnen Hall

The apparatus and facilities used for these activities are

recognisable in gymnastics today, such as parallel bars or
the wooden vaulting horse, but the theories behind the
movement did not focus on unlimited increase in performance
or abstract achievement, as is recognised in the modern
sport paradigm. Relative achievement and military
performance were the main goals, achieved through
structuring the activities as only an immediate contest with
others. Additionally, Turnen involved more than merely
physical exercise, containing other ingredients such as
patriotic speeches, traditional songs and fatherland
excursions.(Naul and Hardman, 2002) Turnen had a strong
political agenda and was deemed subversive before eventually


being integrated into the curriculum of boys’ secondary

schools in 1842.
Swedish gymnastics were based more on scientific basis
but again had a nationalistic persuasion. Anatomy and the
laws of the human body were paramount in Ling’s theories on
physical education and he attempted to explain the
relationship between the body and soul, and the
physiological and psychological. Ling’s exercises and
movements were considered by some, namely doctors, as
irrational and speculative(Pfister, 2003, p.69) being, as
they were, based on their effect on different parts of the
body, muscles and internal organs. The main principle of the
Swedish gymnastics was that the exercises should be simple,
involve the whole body and encourage participation by
everybody. Apparatus such as bars, ladders and ropes were
used, along with free exercises. Essentially, the program
was complete functionality, fun was not considered important
and competition and records were not considered a part of
the philosophy. When referring to Eichberg's trialectic,
both of these movements can be defined as reproductive and
a-productive activities.
Sport as we know it today is considered to have emerged in
England, with the most important trait being that of the
abstracting of performance so that the achievement, athlete
and opponent are negated to an abstract figure.(Harris,
1975) The public schools system in England is thought to be
the environment that created what has become known as the
system of ‘fair play’ that characterises much of what is
recognised in the English sporting system. Chaotic and
unruly games existed in the schools as lawlessness and harsh
survival culture was enmeshed in these aristocratic
institutions. With changing social structures (ascendant
middle class families)an attempt was made that aimed to tame
behaviour through the social control of organised sports
‘out on the field’.

-Typical field and pavilion

landscape of English sport


As such this notion of fair play was a practical necessity

more than an ideology but soon developed into the notion of
manliness by virtue of sport’s capacity to develop
responsibility, initiative, self confidence and the will to
win.(Harris, 1975) While all of these developments have
differences, their similarities are also apparent. All
conclude with a rational approach to body movement,
systemisation, an educational contribution and national
identity. All of them considered their system as superior to
the others. Common to all of the developments is also the
formation of manliness or masculinity culture, considered as
vital to develop the competitive character necessary in the
modern world.
As these developments in physical culture spread, being
modified and adapted to the various cultures they colonised,
gender and class preferences emerged. Gymnastics influenced
the physical education of girls and sport became the male
domain.(Pfister, 2003, p.81) Rivalries existed as each
movement travelled, largely to do with nationalist politics
or differing cultural attitudes to the outcomes of the
movements. For instance, the German Turners could not accept
the limited benefit of the performance fixation in English
sport and questioned its aesthetic value. Cooperation and
aesthetics counted more to Turnen than competition and
efficiency. Gradually though, both forms of gymnastics and
the ideology behind them became ‘sportised’. Rules and
limits were developed and winning had to become one of the
principles of these traditional activities. The victory of
sport over the other non-outcome based activities runs in
parallel to the development of the modern state, with its
usefulness in reducing tension and channeling aggression as
a surrogate for war and violence. Psychological aspects have
also been offered as explanation for sport's rise, offering
a wider variety of physical and psychological satisfaction
along with greater speed and spontaneity than the gymnastics
display. (Pfister, 2003, p.86) Perhaps most powerful an
influence was the attraction to the spectator as well as the
participant and the availability for the same activities and
practices to symbolise different traditions and values. We
only have to consider the varying national styles of play
identified in something like World Cup football to recognise
this. At a time of emerging nationalism this aspect of sport
was seen as a powerful way to express nationhood. Recent
trends in physical culture need to be analysed to assess how
the dominance of competitive sport and its relationship to
the other aspects of the trialectic, namely the reproductive
and a-productive aspects, has evolved and how the
competitive aspect of sport for the general population has


changed. This is covered further along. The emergence of

urbanisation in Europe and especially America further
affected the landscape and facilities of sports.


The process of urbanisation was both the crucial factor
in shaping the rise of organised sport and a major influence
in shaping the growth of recreational sports. Early walking
cities in America enjoyed secular cosmopolitan populations
who viewed sport in a positive light as a way to encourage
sociability. With this, the possibilities for social
segregation through sport were also realised.
In England at the advent of organised sport, gambling
was one of the prime catalysts toward standardisation and
codification of rules. Capitalistic ventures in wagering on
contests required transparency and regulation.
Entrepreneurship continued in America. Tavern owners were
the first to run sporting contests in or near their
establishments to attract sales from the spectators. Boxing,
cockfighting and generally rough contests drew boisterous
crowds to witness sporting events inside, usually
accompanied by gambling and drinking.
Increasing urbanisation and the resultant anomie in big
cities encouraged the formation of sport subcultures that in
turn enhanced the need for sporting competition. The focus
became the event and sporting facilities to attract paying
spectators were increasingly demanded, usually in the form
of enclosed semi public spaces. These facilities were
generally highly politicised, involving local politicians in
deals with illegal organisations or vote swinging
interventions.(Riess, 1991) Urban pathology was deemed
problematic to the moral well being of many American cities,
along with the increased level of bachelor culture amusement
sports. Voluntary sports associations and ethnic clubs
recognised the social value of physical culture. By
attaining territory through fields and sports facilities
these social groups ensured their particularity and
maintained segregation from threats to social
cohesion.(Eisen and Wiggins, 1994)
Congestion in the urban American city had soon reached
a point of saturation and the municipal parks movement began
the process of allocating green space for the cities' poor.
However, more than anything these spaces only served to
territorialise the areas they allocated into, exacerbating
social problems and alienating participants.
Innovations in technology such as improved transport
facilities changed the spatial relationship of the cities


and hence the sporting environment. Concentrated city

populations had provided the necessary audiences for many
commercial spectator sport facilities, but the availability
of actual recreational areas became increasingly thin as
rising city land values changed land uses. The city might
once have been used for street games or swimming in the
docks but crowding and safety provisions soon made these
activities untenable.

-Municipal action moved urban games off the street and into purposeful facilities
(Stickball and swimming)


The radial city split sporting activity into two spatial

configurations. Large parks and facilities were placed along
transport routes which benefited those classes who could
afford the journey or who lived in the open spaces. Inner
city working classes and slum dwellers had to modify their
activities to suit the surroundings. Usually this involved
sports played in small indoor facilities such as billiards
or bowling.(Riess, 1991)

-Indoor urban sports (Billiards and Bowling)

Boxing and basketball became urban sports available to space

poor city dwellers. The transport routes on the other hand
allowed the elite and middle classes to develop their more
prestigious athletics clubs or use their mobility on
bicycles or cars to access large outdoor fields for tennis
and other outdoor sports that required open space. Social
prestige and contact making had become the realm of sports
clubs as the increased distances between people of the same
class meant less contact in the everyday.
-Tennis as an class based sport
in the radial city


-New York City Athletic Club: extensive facilities and exclusive access

In parallel to this, ethnic groups sought to maintain their

identification with the old country by creating sporting
clubs that maintained traditions such as the Turners of
Germany.(Eisen and Wiggins, 1994) Spectator sports increased
in popularity as improved transport systems allowed paying
spectators to access facilities. Intercity leagues were made
possible. Facilities that required large spaces such as
racetracks and baseball or football stadiums were built on
the periphery, restricting the audience to those with fare.
Most locations were politically influenced for best effect,
or developed by the transport companies themselves. Stadiums
might begin as smaller wooden structures and gradually be
improved as the market was assessed.(Rader, 1983)
Technology has influenced the development of sport and its
facilities to such an extent that now all weather, enclosed
stadiums, air travel and so on has created sporting
environments of total coverage. Professionalisation of sport
through powerful media coverage results in major dealing and


scheming by cities to attract franchised teams to boost city

image and appeal. Placement of highways, or political deals,
are all part of this process which increasingly places large
stadiums for national sporting events within the transport
milieu of the suburbs at transport interchanges and hubs.



-Orthogonality and function in the Modernist

sports 'container'

-'Superbowl' by Blue Architects- a postmodern sports landscape


Commodification and consumption of sport,

corporatisation and celebrity appeal, are all a part of what
Bale terms the placeless sportscape.(Bale, 1994)
Paradoxically, with the rise of these highly professional,
synthetic sportscapes has been an increasing trend toward
less structured sporting activity and landscapes.(Costa and
Miragaya, 2002) While the aforementioned commodity
sportscapes (ie.large stadia, precincts etc.) are firmly
established as an international phenomenon, deemed essential
for a city's image and even economy, informal sports of a
more leisure based variety provide a challenge for the
production of space.(Ru, [1976-] 2002, p.14) A discussion of
this paradox in the social context of sport today
necessitates a comparative analysis between the modern and
the post-modern condition as it relates to sport. The
characteristics of modern sport have been tabled earlier
using Guttmann's model. These characteristics, as has been
identified, mirror the society of modernisation and
mechanisation that they were a part. The facilities and
spaces planned in the modern era (until the nineteen-
sixties) also represented these characteristics, resulting
in the rigorously functional and programmatically separated
planning of the Functional City model,(Ru, [1976-] 2002)
which was the consistent paradigm across Europe, UK, USA and
Australia. Sport and leisure in the modernist city aimed at
a civilising policy toward providing healthy and meaningful
leisure to a populace with increased free time due to
changes in labour laws. (Ru, [1976-] 2002, p.13) However, in
the seventies, with the emergence of what is now commonly
termed the post-modern era, leisure moved from an emphasis
on health and meaningful activity to become an essential
part of the pleasure economy. The contrast between these two
eras is summarised in Bale's comparative table;(Bale, 1994)

Diagram 4a: (Bale's Comparative Table)


These differences manifest in the new post-modern

landscapes that are invariably more informal and may be tied
to a vastly greater colonising area than the previous era
(scuba diving, paragliding, four wheel driving, surfing and
so on). Bideau suggests that the impression gained is of a
link between the birth of a sporting society and the death
of material production.(Bideau, 2002) The result is hard
work on our bodies, rather than hard work producing goods.
Eichberg speaks of the change from the modern pyramid
structure, with an ascendant 'top' and centred position of
survey (represented literally by the winners dais), to a
post-modern labyrinthine condition that is non-centred,
lacks a point of survey and reflects the post-modern
condition of curiosity.(Eichberg et al., 1998) Some authors
have questioned the validity of a 'post-modern' era
(Scambler, 2005), Uses of sport), seeing it as intractable
from the meta-narrative that defines modernist thinking.
Nevertheless, and while remaining aware of such debates, the
changing sporting landscape from the nineteen seventies
onwards offers distinctive differences between the modern
and what has alternately been termed trans-modern, hyper-
modern, late-modern and post-modern of today. Political
changes, new ecological attitudes, and changing spatial and
temporal perceptions can be identified. Wohl, as quoted by
Eichberg (Eichberg et al., 1998, p.138) suggests the new
games of the emergent post modern (skateboarding, jogging,
frisbee, surfing) more closely resemble the medieval games
and play, being more integrated into the surrounding natural
landscape. Modern sporting characteristics such as
separation of tasks, streamlined body condition, dynamic
action and achievement are in the post-modern paralleled
with what are recognisably more medieval aspects of festive
repetition, song, musicality, movement and activity. In
essence the new sporting environment that emerges in the
post-modern age emphasises fun and bodily experience rather
than competition and training. It also re-engages with the
communicative aspects of traditional games.(Eichberg et al.,
1998, p.145)
Again, such developments occur within a social context
that reflects these aspects, one that 'thinks globally but
acts locally' and is directing toward small scale production
and regionalism.(Eichberg et al., 1998, p.146) Concurrent to
this is the individualisation of recreation that manifests
itself most clearly in the international marketing of
lifestyle sports and 'bottom up' marketing strategies.
Companies such as Nike have recognised the emergence of the
importance of individual expression in the lifestyle market,
exploiting this with strategies directed toward mass


customisation that construct a 'grassroots' product-based

lifestyle.(Ru, [1976-] 2002,, p.16) Often the informal
activities such as skateboarding or 'ghetto soccer' invade
the built environment and may seem disturbing to some.
Planning for such informal activities has its own unique
problems, primarily that of accommodating the flexibility
needed for both passive and intensive uses.(Ru, [1976-]
2002,, p.17)

-Nike marketing toward mass customisation and individual preference


Diagram 4b (Eichberg's Comparative Table)

Furthermore, recent changes to physical culture landscapes

highlight the reclamation of the spatial element. Modern
conditions of sport necessitated one dimensional,
directional time and ever-increasing progress that served to
disintegrate space.(Eichberg et al., 1998) The domination of
time over space in modern sport gave it a 'staged' effect,
appearing unnatural. The flattened landscape that denied
irregularity and place compares to the Roman military
fields. However, something such as jogging or surfing, or
the eastern 'inner sports' such as tai chi, directs more
toward timelessness, a new slowness, and a de-stressing from
the rationality and tension of sportive time.
Therefore, concurrent to the globalised sportscape of hyper-
commodification are the activities that present as almost
'anti-sport'. Eichberg's trialectic can be re-visited here
because it represents how these reproductive and a-
productive activities (jogging, surfing) are used as
training programs for productive sporting competition. At
the same time the exploitation of these new games is visible
through the 'sportising' of them, creating competitions,
rules, regulations, and standard conditions that feed
markets for branding and imaging. What is clear and is borne
out in research (Costa and Miragaya, 2002)(Uses of sport) is


a contrast between the elite based, celebrity/commodity

sports, and the exercise activities or more de-structured
sport, that serve more as an event; rhythmic and
situational. In a design sense, this has resulted in either
an alternative expressivity in facility design that aims to
negate the functionalist panopticon, or a Disneyfication of
the activity landscape in the form of adventure parks. Both
are a critique in a sense of the space/time separation of
measure/container found in modern facilities, and an
indication of the need to express the 'fiction of progress'.
(Eichberg et al., 1998, p.160)

Diagram 4c: (Bale's Interaction Analysis)



Participation in physical fitness is decreasing and has
become a health issue around the world as governments
attempt to reverse this situation. The current political
model and what Scambler calls disorganised capitalism
(Scambler, 2005) contribute to this situation, as do other
social aspects such as changing work patterns and
entertainment/social options that appear as more
sedentary(video games, television, internet). Scambler
suggests that disorganised capitalism and the third way
political model (in this case in the British model) is
designed to secure public legitimisation rather than be
effective.(Scambler, 2005, p.84) While consistently calling
for increased activity levels, the state has sold off
recreational land and reduced school physical education
programs due to economic pressure from capital interests.
Scambler cites Habermas’ summary of this situation as the
system (money and power-economy and state) colonising the
life world (communicative interaction-family and media),
which suffers accordingly through reducing participants to
legal entities instead of thinking, acting subjects.
(Scambler, 2005) Simulation and 'the copy' (the television
replay) instead of representation (the actual game) is one
result, which further separates the spectator and the
participant. Habermas emphasises a return to Modernist
thinking, suggesting that the post-modern imbalance stifles
opposition.(Scambler, 2005, p.182)
This political situation and the developments cited
above in post-modern physical culture, summarised as
directing more toward informal, unstructured, leisure based
recreational sport, are all visible in the Australian
context. Such developments are in keeping with the emergence
of international bodies such as the Sport for All (SFA)
movement, whose aim is to study and cultivate environments
for participation in physical activity for all as a health
issue. SFA is an umbrella term for recreation, sport
development, mass participation programs and cultural
recreation activities. It includes any kind of sport
practiced without the pressures of top sport, and therefore
cannot be based on talent for competition or on social
status. (Costa and Miragaya, 2002, p.15) As a world wide
movement it aims to offer initiatives which offer access


and opportunities of physical activities for people without

motivation, awareness and/or means to participate in them.
(Costa and Miragaya, 2002, p.16)
In Australia, these initiatives are pursued within a
multi dimensional sport framework that includes all levels
of government, private not for profit organisations and
commercial operators in an integrated, co-operative system.
Trends in Australia match those internationally in a drift
toward more individualistic, non-competitive recreation.
Debate in political circles continues as to the preference
on focus, whether directed toward the elite performance
trickle down emulation model or the cultivation of grass
roots activity. Nevertheless, initiatives such as Life.Be in
It (LBII) and Active Australia (AA) serve to raise awareness
about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and have been
largely successful in sending their message. However,
barriers to participation remain, especially for older
people and migrant groups through cultural or economic
restrictions. Many of the SFA initiatives are program based,
either emphasising new games environments that focus on
challenge rather than competition, or directed to school
groups through creating activities that minimise
inequalities in weight, height and gender. (Costa and
Miragaya, 2002, p.46)
Recreational space usage in Australia is determined
more by proximity, access, time, image, opportunity and
awareness rather than for the competitive, organised
element, as changing social conditions and work conditions
in Australia has seen a reduction in the once dominant club
culture. Australia’s SFA committee considers reducing social
and psychological barriers toward participation by promoting
programs to specific groups as a main strategy. (Costa and
Miragaya, 2002, p.69)
The activity 'field' of leisure based recreation is so
much vaster now with the majority of Australian activities
not occurring in settings recognisable as the traditional
sport landscape; the beach and the countryside for instance.
However, indoor sports centres or community leisure
facilities are still a relevant part of the overall SFA
framework, and generally support modified team games,
exercise for fitness and individual recreation. Within this,
space set aside for social interaction forms an important
part of the programme. (Costa and Miragaya, 2002, p.62)
Multi-use community facilities are also considered effective
in reinforcing the awareness programs. Another example of
Sport for All initiatives is the ‘Rage Cage’, built for LBII
as a mobile, diverse sporting space for young people in
remote or depressed communities.


-The 'Rage Cage' a Sport for All intiative for remote and depressed areas

Diagram 5a: (Sport for All Australian Context)



The design of sports facilities covers an immense
amount of variation within the typological range. Differing
programs, budgets, users, cultures and so on produce
different responses to the development of the type.
Nevertheless, and in light of the socio/historical knowledge
recorded above, some current typological trends for smaller
sports centres are apparent and can now provide some insight
into actual design strategies. The four trends identified as
prominent are:
1. INFRASTRUCTURAL: (multi-programming; combined planning)
2. DECORATED CONTAINERS: (surface treatments to dissolve the
object; modernist programming)
3. PHENOMENOLOGICAL: (direct experience; movement)
4. LANDSCAPE IMMERSION: (re-entering the landscape; sunken
buildings; earth covered)
As mentioned, many more approaches to designing a sports
facility exist depending on scope, but these developments
appear as a consistent response to the current sporting
world context as concluded in the post-modern evaluation of
the report. The first three will now be commented on further
and examples presented.
Sports facilities can be planned toward being relevant to a
much larger area than the immediate surrounds. Even the site
for the proposed facility in Flemington extends far beyond
the 'neighbourhood', through the bicycle track and vehicular
infrastructure surrounding it. Why not tap into this? The
movement and apparent distances adjacent to the site can be
integrated so that the apartment dweller in Docklands is
considered as much a potential user as the public housing
resident. Derelict and un-activated ex-industrial areas (as
the site is considered to be) might be multi-programmed and
plugged into the traffic infrastructure. In Amsterdam new
exploration into activating disused industrial zones have
been undertaken, looking toward regional development by
addressing the relationship between traffic, leisure and
nature.(Bideau, 2002) Blue Architects' 'Superbowl'
competition entry links two disciplines-transport planning


and sport- to produce a synthetic, body oriented leisure

landscape. Through the use of green ramparts and berming
with different radii, multi-programming is possible which
includes cycling, jogging, spectator stands and noise
control. A diagram of different speeds results. A vertical
cultural diagram, incorporating theatre, cinema and dining
within a very flexible circular spatial structure, matches
this horizontal sporting diagram.(Bideau, 2002)

Architects such as Herzog and DeMueron continue the
modernist 'container' programming in their sports center in
Pfaffenholz a St.Louis, but through external treatment
change the rigidity of like modernist boxes. The center
appears as a monolith in the field but instead of reading
the volumes, it is the surfaces that form the focus. As
such, playing fields, lawns and facades are read together
which serves to dissolve the object/field distinction, and
allows varying levels of depth and texture through surface
treatment on the concrete and glass.



Another prevalent direction is to express the movement
and rhythm of the sporting event in the building itself.
This is a phenomenological aspect of experiencing the
movement, not only for the participant but more importantly
for the spectator as well. Enric Miralles speaks of this
aspect in the design for the National Gymnastics Center in
Alicante, Spain completed 1995, explaining how the movement
implied in the curved ramping and angled planes captures the
spectator, and increases their perception of the event they
are witnessing.(Zabalbeascoa, 1999) Miralles' designs make
apparent the passing of time, and hence mortality, which is
also apt in the sporting context of health and fitness and
traces back to presence of death in the ancient arena games.



Carme Pinos also expresses the movement and adds the

potential for sensuality (as opposed to modernist rigidity)
in her design for a small sports center in Egues, Spain. The
large flat 'field' again lies in front of the building, but
Pinos invokes another landscape through a serpentine wall
with steps, ramps and terraces that undulate up and down,
allowing a viewing area and shelter. The program inserts in
’islands' between this platform and the hovering monopitch
roof. Deep internal view sheds across varying activities
enliven the spaces.


In Architecture for Sport, Sturzbecher and Ulrich

suggest an open architecture, such as this by Pinos, is
necessary for the design of sports facilities in the current
post-modern context. Strategies for achieving this open
architecture can include day lighting from the side and
above, views into the site, alcoves for chatting,
stimulating materials and shading, internal view windows and
use of all of the building surfaces for activities.
(Sturzebecher and Urlich, 2005, p.26)
The informality of the post-modern sporting context
requires a meaningful spatial condition. Modernist
separation of programs led to rigorous standardisation of
spaces for particular sports. Such regimentation alienated
many. These sports ‘victims’ might be encouraged to get
moving through the unconventional, so that the space for
sport and exercise is created in what would seem like non-
sporting surrounds. The examples immediately above
illustrate some new directions toward the re-working of the
sports space that looks at “finding ways to avoid the shadow
that standardisation tends to cast.” (Broto, 2005, p.10)



The site is located adjacent to the Flemington public

housing estate between Racecourse Road and Mount
Alexander Road. Existing space exists for sporting use
but through observation appears under utilised for the
area allocated to this use. For instance, a large cricket
oval with synthetic pitch does not get used, possibly for
many reasons, among these the interest of potential users
in cricket and the absence of any structured organisation
to play. Cricket requires very specific equipment which
is not available. Asphalt tennis courts and further nets
for cricket practice also exist on the current site. The
nets remain unused, but the tennis courts are regularly
used, although in an informal way. Further concrete
'multiuse walls' (refer photos) are available but not
entirely inspiring.


-Concrete 'sports walls'


-Unused cricket nets

-Tennis courts and changeroom building


-Largely under utilised main field

The site has been chosen for its location at the fulcrum
of the divergent demographics in the area, and also its
proximity to infrastructure elements which may allow
broader consideration of user groups and scope of the
proposed facility. The aerial photograph indicates a
varied potential user group, namely established permanent
residents in private housing on the west hill, migrant
residents in the highrise flats, new 'high end' apartment
dwellers across Mt.Alexander Rd. and perhaps users of the
bicycle track adjacent. Coordination with the three
nearby schools for a joint sharing use is hoped for.
A clubroom style facility (changerooms, verandah) exists
but observation over five site visits has not seen it
open. The community centre on the site is used
frequently. Possibilities exist to integrate the sports
facility with this centre. A community garden is also
nearby which again might give integration possibilities
as a strategy toward multiprogramming and informality in
the activity landscape.


-The community garden and the infrastructure

-Changerooms and DCM's gateway 'fries' beyond

The existing bicycle track, which runs from Moonee Valley

Racecourse to Docklands creates a possible 'feeder'
landscape. There is a creek beside this which acts as a
pollution filter and represents another landscape that


may integrate with the facility underneath the Citylink

Existing architecture and built environment surrounding
the site was also another reason for choice of the site.
The 'infamous' housing towers represent the modernist
abstraction and standardisation that was a characteristic
of modern sport reviewed in the main report.
Architectural interventions on the modernist flats have
been carried out, most prominently the postmodern
'ironical messages' of ARM's liftwell, which reads as
sign for Neimeyer's Brazillian sensuous forms or the
McDonalds M concurrently. These contrasts directly relate
to the sporting landscape contrasts reviewed. DCM's
Melbourne gateway for Citylink has been likened to the
fries in response. The Citylink tunnel itself represents
an enormous element to be engaged with, literally
ignoring the flats and appearing quite intimidating. It
separates this side of the creek to the train station and
possible links and use of the space underneath this area
is being considered.
The flats are the first home for many migrants to
Melbourne, housing largely African and Chinese migrants
at this time. Participation by these groups are a part of
the aims of the research, but it is recognised that
turnover through the demographic of the flats is constant
and designing specifically for certain migrant groups is
not considered effective. Tai Chi and Soccer have been
observed on the site, confirming a need for a mixed level
of activity for health, wellbeing and competitive outlet
for youths.