Populous complete new stand at the world's 'home of cricket'

Sports architecture practice Populous have completed the redevelopment of the Warner Stand at the world famous Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.

Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the owner of the ground, tasked the architects with designing a stand that delivers an enhanced spectator experience, hosts significantly upgraded facilities and “ensures Lord’s retains its competitive advantage as the premier and most prestigious ground in the world to play and watch international cricket.”

Located between the Grade II* listed Pavilion and the Grand Stand, the new stand was envisioned by the design team as “deliberately bold and contemporary in nature but, at the same time, sympathetic and sensitive to its place within the most historic of sporting arenas.”

Replacing the original Warner Stand, which was completed in 1958 and no longer considered fit for purpose, the design of the new 2,922-capacity stand seeks to contribute to the character of the ground, improve views of the on-field action and exceed best practice standards for accessibility.

It is fully inclusive for spectators with disabilities and mobility needs and the time it takes to travel between the seats and amenities has been decreased.

New spaces and facilities within the building include a new Match Control Suite, located at the rear of the lower tier seating, and a host of restaurants and bars at all levels that will serve to boost non-match day income.

A 135-cover glazed-walled restaurant occupies a central position in the design, with large windows looking out over the pitch. A white, translucent insulating tensile fabric membrane is used for the roof, blending the restaurant with the seating tier.

The overall form of the main roof evoked “an elegantly spreading palm leaf”, delicately folded, so that rainwater runs back to the rear edge. The water is collected at basement level and stored for reuse for the flushing of lavatories – one of several sustainable features, along with a green roof over the rear part of the building, green walls on the garden facade and solar thermal and photovoltaic panels.

A canopy provides protection from the elements, whilst the translucent qualities also ensure that spectators benefit from both shade and natural light.

“It’s a privilege for the practice to add to the wonderful heritage of the ‘Home of Cricket’”, said Populous senior principal and project lead, Philip Johnson. “Lord’s has a special place in the hearts of cricketers and fans, and this new stand will help cement its position as the finest cricket ground in the world.”

Populous is working with MCC on a wider 20-year masterplan for the ground, and will also oversee the design of the South Western Project. This comprises the redevelopment of four existing buildings, including the Tavern and Allen Stands and a partial refurbishment of the Grade II* listed Pavilion and Bowlers’ Annexe.

The project team includes consulting engineers Arup and contractor BAM Construct Ltd.

First published www.sportsmanagement.co.uk, written by Kim Megson 3 May 2017 

(The overall form of the main roof evoked 'an elegantly spreading palm leaf', delicately folded, so that rainwater runs back to the rear edge / Clare Skinner)