Life Set to Return to Sydney’s Historic Home of Tennis


Life Set to Return to Sydney’s Historic Home of Tennis

The redevelopment of the historic White City tennis complex in Sydney’s Paddington is underway, with Cottee Parker Architects spearheading the 2.9-hectare masterplan.

Prior to changing hands in 2010, the historic site had been subject to multiple unsuccessful development applications since Tennis NSW relocated in the lead-up to the 2000 Olympics.

The not-for-profit Hakoah Club is behind the latest, now green-lit, revitalisation of the precinct spanning Darlinghurst and Double Bay.

The $60-million redevelopment was approved in August and has gained $7.5 million in funding from the state government to further Hakoah Club’s community-led vision for the site.

Cottee Parker’s vision reinterprets the famed site’s tennis-heritage roots, prioritising a sense of community and connection.

Historic arches under the existing north grandstand will be retained, while the Cottee Parker team worked hard to preserve and re-use the existing 1920s structure.

Cottee Parker Principal Angelo Di Marco said the project would reinvigorate the precinct after many years.

“It’s had a chequered history of proposed developments, from residential and many other propositions, but this safeguards the open space of Paddington,” Di Marco said.

“Public access onto the site has always been difficult due to the contours of the land.

“The new development now ensures the site is permeable at all levels, allowing equitable access to all community facilities.

A 260-seat grandstand, community space and function rooms, swimming pools and added tennis facilities will add new elements to the site for community use.

Cottee Parker principal Nick Tayler said it would be a state-of-the-art facility ready to cater for everything from community sport to national competitions, as it did many years ago.

“While there’s still tennis activity on the site, the grandstand is essentially dilapidated and out of service, and the site has really fallen into disrepair,” Tayler said.

“When the Hakoah Club bought the site they had the vision to reimagine it as a community and sporting hub.

“Having a facility like this so close to the city centre is going to be a fantastic addition to the precinct.”

Tayler said they had used a comprehensive interpretation strategy, including the retention and the adaptive reuse of elements from the southern grandstand, as well as displays of tennis memorabilia, in the design.

Di Marco said the Cottee Parker team had used its experience across a broad range of developments to inform the White City tennis project.

Recently, the practice’s Sydney-based team designed The Terraces Paddington, repurposing a heritage site for Presbyterian Aged Care, which won the UDIA 2021 President’s award.

“We’re working in areas that are highly sensitive, reinterpreting heritage and bringing back elements to the community,” Tayler said.

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