Morris Iemma Indoor Sports Center / McPhee Architects

© Sharrin Rees

Architects: McPhee Architects
Location: Marrickville,
Client: Canterbury City Council
Project Area: 3,575 sqm
Photographs: Sharrin Rees

Context of the Building

The Morris Lemma Indoor Sports Centre (MIISC) was designed by Wayne McPhee & Associates, Architects, with a team of engineering specialists. As a community facility for the people of Canterbury, our beginning of the design process was to capture the context of Riverwood, a “poetic” place name combining both river and wood. This understanding of the geographic and cultural context was a springboard to the creative design process for the building.

© Sharrin Rees

We believe the design of this important project at Riverwood possesses a place for memories of the previous inhabitants, and will have meaning for the generations to come.

Site Plan

The Design Concept or “Philosophy”

The MIISC as a community sporting facility contains and expresses the culture, character, nature and sporting uses of the site. The building expresses not only functional and operational requirements but community and social aspirations which have been realized through generous government financial contributions. Our design approach has been to maximize the potential of the site and provide the occupants sporting and improved lifestyle opportunities.


The Indoor sports centre expresses itself as a strong muscular building, closely following Council’s brief to provide a centre for community health fitness and strength. The site flows east/west and we have devised a building which channels these flows which are expressed in the roof form as ‘finger’ strips.

© Sharrin Rees

The metal clad ‘fingers’ extend from the main sports hall west towards Belmore Road. Each ‘finger’ has a box shaped picture window end providing a visual connection between the occupants and passers-by giving high visibility to the interior spaces during both day time and evening. These ‘fingers’ are dynamic in shape, and the entrance awning and canopy forms are also dynamic and emblematic of motion.


The building encapsulates the dynamism and vibrancy of abstract forms well known to sports people: compression and rarefaction expressed as wave patterns of the roof forms: stretch and grip expressed by the roof trusses evident within the building interiors. The large well appointed interior spaces nurture and develop sporting, recreational and cultural pursuits, they also encourage, social interaction, teamwork and cultural diversity.

© Sharrin Rees

Colour has played a big part in the design which aims to heighten human experience to give the building users joy, and surprise when moving around and through the centre. Within and without there is dynamism of movement.

© Sharrin Rees

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Morris Iemma Indoor Sports Center / McPhee Architects" 19 Jul 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
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