Blight Rayner Architecture Builds On Ballymore Link As New QRU Partner

Blight Rayner Corporate Partnership with QRU © QRU


Blight Rayner Architecture has come on board as a new partner for the Queensland Rugby Union,
building and progressing the positive relationship during the Ballymore redevelopment.


For Director Michael Rayner, it is an exciting extension of his own passion for the game which has been poured into a landmark facelift for the headquarters of rugby in Queensland.

The partnership between Blight Rayner Architecture and the QRU has a strong fit.

“Personally, it is really significant to me,” Rayner shared. “When you do a project, often there is a thing ‘the architect has left the building’ and that’s the end of it. To do this building is kind of the anchor of my involvement but to then have an ongoing partnership with the QRU is really fantastic.

“It’s part of your career journey and it’s a journey I want to be on because I want to see how the building performs over time and see how the Reds perform over time.”

“Embarking on a partnership with Michael, Ash, Rachel and the Blight Rayner team means a great deal to the QRU,” QRU Chief Executive David Hanham said.

“The outstanding facility that they designed here at Ballymore is testament to their unrivalled architectural capabilities, while the partnership speaks to their passion for rugby and shared cultural values with the QRU.”

The initial architectural drawings showed the scope to give Ballymore a much-needed revitalisation. The new BMS National Rugby Training Centre and McLean Stand has received rave reviews from players, coaches, high-performance staff, administrators, guests and hirers since it opened in mid-2023.

“For an architect to get a project like this, the heartland of rugby in Queensland, wass just phenomenal,” Rayner said. “I remember when I had my very first meeting here for the project and my excitement.

“I actually sent a photo of the meeting to my wife while we were still in the meeting. She sent me back the message ‘you look like a kid in a lolly shop’.”

It’s true. Rayner’s own playing days were in Sydney before landing in Brisbane in 1990 when he quickly switched allegiance to the Queensland Reds. He’s been a season ticketholder through the Reds’ ups and downs and his two sons played the game.

“We’re just a rugby fanatical family. I love the game. I find it fascinating from an artistic point of view as well as the physical,” Rayner said.

“I see it like a brilliant game of animated chess, particularly when you can see moves planned several phases before a successful outcome.”

Rayner said the personal aspects to designing the BMS Centre were there right from the start with players contributing ideas to what they needed out of a high-performance space.

“Other than doing a house, it is not that often an architect gets to design a building with the people who are going to inhabit it,” Rayner said.

“This enabled us to nuance it to the ways the players, coaches and staff actually work. Visibility between spaces, for example, was a really big thing to them, creating the sense of belonging to a community wherever you are in the building.

“I also learnt a lot more about this incredible game of rugby from designing it, and all the planning and strategy that goes into elite level sport.”

When Rayner, the rugby fan, heard co-captains Tate McDermott and Liam Wright speak to the media during the open weeks of the season, he got his answer.

“When those first few games were played at Suncorp Stadium and the captains were asked why the Reds were so much better this year, one of the reasons they gave was having this fantastic new facility,” Rayner said. “That to me and Blight Rayner Architecture is really rewarding because that’s exactly what we were trying to do with it.”

Blight Rayner Architecture’s first game as an official partner with the QRU will be when the Reds host Wales on July 19, with a bumper crowd expected at Suncorp Stadium.

“I think the staging of this game by Queensland is phenomenal,” Rayner said. “I just have this gut feeling that the Reds are going to catch them by surprise. I’m really looking forward to that match.”


Blight Rayner Corporate Partnership with QRU © QRU