This is the story of four apparently simple buildings. It is the tale of four Australian sports halls. Their forms range from a heavy, low concrete structure; to a floating lightweight building using steel and plywood; to another with an ephemeral transparent form and no apparent mass; and, finally, to a building that looks like a grandstand at the side of a cricket pitch.

The buildings have won multiple Australian architecture, design, and building awards, and one went on to win the Best Sports Building award at the World Architecture Festival.

What is remarkable about the buildings is that all four—each designed by Australian architects Allen Jack+Cottier—were designed in response to the same, some might consider prescriptive, design brief from the New South Wales government. Or, more specifically, they were designed to meet a standardised briefing document from the NSW Department of Schools and Sport & Recreation NSW for indoor sports halls.

Each building takes its form from the landscape and the microclimate in which it is located, and each serves to educate its young visitors about sustainable building, as well as operate in a sustainable manner.

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Author notes


CEO and Principal, Design, Allen Jack+Cottier Architects, Sydney, Australia,,