Winter 2023

Engaging interviews, behind-the-scenes insights, news, trends and topical features that celebrate places that evolve our landscape, and the people who bring them to life - welcome to Made by FDC.


From one iconic space to another, FDC’s transformation of the Royal Hall of Industries into the Sydney Swans HQ and Community Centre, is a story of collaboration and capability, delivering world-class facilities that will leave a legacy. 

With its imposing red brick exterior, the 110-year-old Royal Hall of Industries, once considered the pinnacle of construction, is a building of serious heritage significance. Nostalgically remembered as The Showbag Pavilion (with numerous other lives as an exhibition hall, a morgue, a roller-skating rink, a boxing venue, a ballroom and more) it was a space that lay silent for years, lonely and largely underutilised.

Its epic transformation into the Sydney Swans’ impressive new headquarters spanning over 12,000sqm and comprising two seperate structures over two levels, incorporates state-of-the-art training facilities and a community hub, giving the Sydney Swans not only an exceptional facilities upgrade, but a renewed sense of community for athletes and fans alike.

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Constructed by FDC, who overcame relentless Sydney rain and Covid challenges to deliver on time and on budget, the project was an exercise in versatility, building a centre which encompassed almost every element of construction technique and facility. “There were heritage elements, civil in-ground works with reinforcing structures, dealing with existing fabric; concrete, structural steel, and of course the delivery of pools, saunas, gyms, altitude rooms, office spaces, cafes, commercial kitchens, medical suites…the list goes on, says FDC Project Director, George Pavlakos.

“It’s rare to work on a project that encompasses all those elements, whether it’s for a sporting team, an educational institution, or a commercial client. It was incredible to deliver this for such an iconic Australian sporting team, and one that hasn’t had a facilities upgrade in decades.”

The Sydney Swans’ original facilities in the Sydney Cricket Ground were due for a makeover, with multi-level rabbit-warren layouts, some floors that could only be accessed by stairs, meeting rooms that echoed the sounds of weights being dropped from the gym and crucially, no space for amenities that would support an AFL Women’s team.



The large open-plan interior of the Royal Hall of Industries integrates multiple facilities including an elite gym, medical amenities, a cafe, merchandise and retail store and a multipurpose indoor training field. There’s also an altitude training room, hot and cold plunge pools and sauna, meeting rooms, a media studio, club dining with commercial kitchen, a library, study area and lounge with rooftop terrace, an auditorium and learning centre.



FDC constructed a separate netball and basketball building which provides a home for Hoops Capital (the academy for the Sydney Kings and Sydney Flames) and incorporates international standard courts and swimming pool rehab and changing facilities for the Sydney Swans’ men and women players. The extension seamlessly blends in with the original site, maintaining consistency in height, scale and materials, and is mostly concealed by the existing heritage brick walls that surround the complex.



“The feedback we’ve had from players, stakeholders and fans has been positive on all fronts,” says George. “At the previous facility, there was nowhere for the players to engage with their fans, and fans to contribute so much to the sport. Now they have multipurpose spaces which allow them to do things like pre and post-game engagement. Members of the club can go in before the game, see the players warm up on the internal training field, buy exclusive merchandise from the retail store and attend post-match drinks. It’s really activated that area of the precinct. There’s even going to be a museum in there dedicated to the Sydney Swans, for people to learn about the history of the club as well as the area, the building, and its many previous uses.”

The Sydney Swans Headquarters now rank amongst the best, with facilities that support their every requirement. For FDC, working closely with the club to understand their needs and deliver on them, was one of the most rewarding aspects of the project. “We had a one goal, one team mentality and we made a point of ensuring that our client, the Sydney Swans, felt really comfortable approaching us at all times as part of the team,” said George. “If they wanted to change something along the way, they knew that we’d do everything possible to accommodate. It was a real collaboration in that sense, and I feel proud to have completed the project to such an exceptional standard. We’ve built sporting and aquatic facilities before, but delivering such a multi-faceted project for such an iconic AFL team was a perfect example of what FDC is capable of.”


Photography: Toby Peet

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Fifty cyclists, 485 kilometres, $534,000 raised for charity. This year, FDC’s annual Ride to Give charity bike ride has made as big an impact as ever.

When FDC co-created a charity bike ride in 2014, it was with the intention of giving back by raising money for worthy charities that have personal meaning for FDC’s people, families and clients.

Fast forward nine years, and the charitable initiative has not only raised around $3 million dollars, but thanks to the rallying support of the community, has created lasting connections, provided invaluable opportunities for people in regional areas and made a serious impact on lives across the country.

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At the beginning of April, fifty cyclists rode a 485km loop over three days, through Armidale, Tamworth and Bingara. Their burning calf muscles and torched calories resulted in them raising a staggering $534,000. This year was the first the ride was brought in-house by FDC and renamed Ride to Give, with Westpac the major sponsor of the event for 2023.

The money raised this year will be distributed to charities that support cancer research and youth outcomes, as well as a variety of grass-roots causes assisting regional communities. These include Backtrack Youth Works, which offers long term support to vulnerable young people in Armidale, with programs that improve situations for the region’s youth, through education, work experience opportunities and setting foundations for a positive life.

Backtrack Youth Works Executive Manager Marcus Watson who joined the peloton said, “I got to see the camaraderie and generosity of the riders firsthand and watched as they connected and donated to several local communities along the way. It was really inspiring in terms of leadership culture – and the organisation of the ride was exceptional. The money raised for Backtrack will make a huge difference, ensuring more young people are supported through our programs, with a particular focus on establishing and growing our accommodation capacity on the new Backtrack farm. Thanks to FDC and each and every rider and support person who made the ride such a success.”

Another beneficiary, The Tie Dye Project, contributes to critical clinical research into sarcoma cancer. Co-founded by Giants Netball and Australian Diamonds player Amy Parmenter after she and her sister Daisy lost their beloved mum to Mesothelioma in 2013, it’s a cause FDC has long been a champion of, as a Platinum Sponsor of Giants Netball. The project’s tie dye merchandise helps fund life-changing cancer research for the Cooper Rice-Brading Foundation, dedicated to sarcoma research, support and awareness.



On day one, the ride began in leafy Armidale, cycling through towns including Uralla, Walcha and Bendemeer, before arriving at the country music capital of Australia, Tamworth. From there, the intrepid team took their wheels north to Bingara, passing through Manilla and Barraba, enroute back to Armidale. On the way, they stopped at various areas of interest throughout New England including schools, community groups and Indigenous centres, to deliver much needed support, totalling over $10,000.



“At FDC, we are committed to giving back to the community and working hard to build a better future. It’s great to see so many people get behind such incredible causes,” said FDC Managing Director, Ben Cottle. “It wouldn’t be possible without our tireless team of cyclists and volunteers. The team at FDC are honoured to support BackTrack Youth Works, The Tie Dye Foundation as well as some valuable community groups and organisations through this year’s Ride to Give. We’re grateful to all who took part, donated, and contributed to making this initiative such a resounding success.”



Since FDC first started their annual Giving Program, Foundations for Life, over $10 million dollars has been raised for charitable causes encompassing everything from disease research and mental health, to youth support and university scholarships. It’s the embodiment of FDC’s mission to always give back; for a better future, for a legacy to be proud of, and to honour the people we work with and live amongst, every single day.

Photography & Videography: Declan Harding

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Pre-flight relaxation just got a whole lot better for travellers at Adelaide Airport, with FDC’s fitout of the new Plaza Premium Lounge in international departures.

There was a time, not so long ago, when Adelaide Airport’s International Terminal didn’t have an international lounge. There was no glossy bar or luxe lounging, no freshly prepared complimentary snacks or comfortable workspaces conducive to pre-flight focus. That’s all changed since FDC completed the fitout of the new Plaza Premium Lounge located in Terminal 1, which will serve as Adelaide Airport’s first ever independent lounge. Plaza Premium Group operates as the world’s largest network of international independent airport lounges with a global footprint of over 250 locations, serving 20 million travellers annually.

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From the moment visitors walk into the lounge, they’re immersed in a space intentionally designed to create a welcoming and sophisticated ambiance. There’s a striking jade green marble bar, behind which wine and spirits wait to be poured in mirrored alcoves that reflect the curvature of aeroplane windows. A selection of natural materials including marble, stone, timber and artfully arranged greenery further contribute to the relaxing atmosphere.

“This is the first time Adelaide Airport has ever seen a space like this,” says FDC Project Manager Adrian Pace. “It’s a unique space inside the terminal, on the same level as the international gates. There is a lot of really beautiful bespoke joinery with American oak and detailed timber, architecturally-inspired fittings and finishes and feature lighting throughout. The lounge provides excellent amenities and the private booth seating is ideal for customers who want to relax and have a drink before they head off.”



The lounge encompasses a comprehensive range of amenities designed to enhance the pre-flight experience. Travelers can sink into the comfortable lounge seating for casual dining, maximise productivity in the private work booths and enjoy the well-stocked bar area. There’s also a range of amenities including showers, a commercial-grade kitchen, back-of-house office, and a food and beverage station to ensure all visitors are adequately fed and watered—or wined and dined, should they be that way inclined.

Meticulously planned and coordinated with the Adelaide Airport team to minimise disruption to the terminal and daily airport operations, the project was not without its challenges thanks to Covid-related labour shortages and time constraints during the busy Christmas period. Nevertheless, the FDC team overcame all hurdles to deliver the lounge within 22 weeks. They worked seamlessly to navigate the complex environment involving airport security and border force regulations, transforming what was previously an empty shell into a visually stunning and functional space.



The colour scheme incorporates a natural palette, light tones, and timber finishes for a sense of spaciousness and flow. Striking features of natural stone, marble, granite and travertine, timber have been incorporated into the bespoke design with a raked notched trowel render finish throughout, and a selection of contemporary feature lighting and furniture. It’s modern luxury, in airport lounge form, with full-height windows that flood the space with natural light.

Since its delivery, the lounge has been met with an enthusiastic reception from passengers, the client, Plaza Premium Group and the airport alike. Quickly cementing itself as one of the terminal’s most favoured additions, it’s been praised for its elegant fitout and its exceptional proximity to the International Terminal gates. And that’s not to mention the attention to detail, premium services, and exquisite design, with wine on tap and tasty food on demand. For passengers at Adelaide Airport’s Plaza Premium Lounge, the journey begins before they even set foot on the plane.



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