Populous, the global architecture and design practice, has completed work on the redevelopment of the Warner Stand at the world famous Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. In fulfilling the brief of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the owner of Lord’s, Populous has designed a new stand that is deliberately bold and contemporary in nature but, at the same time, sympathetic and sensitive to its place within the most historic of sporting arenas.
Located between the Grade II* listed Pavilion and the Grand Stand, the new Warner Stand has been designed to deliver an enhanced spectator experience, for members of MCC and their guests occupying this part of the ground, and a significant upgrade to facilities within the stand, to ensure Lord’s retains its competitive advantage as the premier and most prestigious ground in the world to play and watch international cricket. The project team included consulting engineers Arup and contractor BAM Construct.
Philip Johnson, Populous Senior Principal and Project Lead, said «It is a privilege for the practice to add to the wonderful heritage of the ‘Home of Cricket’. The new Warner Stand has been designed to complement the existing campus of buildings at Lord’s, providing excellent views of the action, world-class match control facilities, a number of bars, and a new restaurant with fantastic views overlooking the ground. 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».
MCC’s Assistant Secretary (Estates) Robert Ebdon said, «MCC is very proud of its history of commissioning individual stands and buildings at Lord’s, each with their own character. With their vision for the new Warner Stand, Populous has designed an architecturally distinctive and pioneering building which has enhanced the aesthetics of the ground while delivering world-class functionality».
Replacing the original Warner Stand, which was completed in 1958 and no longer considered fit for purpose, the design of the new stand seeks to contribute to the character of the ground, creating a welcome new addition to Lord’s campus of buildings that is distinctive but not domineering, particularly in relation the neighboring members’ Pavilion. The innovative new stand has been designed to significantly improve the view for spectators, whilst also exceeding best practice standards for accessibility, so that it is fully inclusive for spectators with disabilities and mobility needs. The time it takes to travel between the seats and amenities has been decreased. Integral to future proofing Lord’s status as the premier venue for international cricket is the new Match Control Suite, located at the rear of the lower tier seating. This has been designed to exceed ICC (International Cricket Council) and ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) standards and positions Lord’s facilities for officials and emergency services at the forefront of any currently available at global sports venues.
Other new spaces and facilities within the building will combine to not only transform the spectator experience but also boost non-match day income by revitalizing the Lord’s offer in terms of hospitality facilities. These include a restaurant, bars at all levels and catering outlets. The enlarged, 135-cover restaurant occupies a central position in the design, with a glazed wall, with impressive large sash windows, along the side of the room facing the pitch, offering stunning views over Lord’s. The restaurant is designed in such a way that occupants on a warm summer day will feel as connected to the cricketing action on the pitch as the spectators seated in the tier in front. Therefore, it was considered important that the roof looks very similar above both the restaurant and the seating tier. A white, translucent insulating tensile fabric membrane has therefore been selected for the roof over the restaurant, which is the first use of this material in Europe.
The fabric is supported by American White Oak “engineered” beams that form a series of structural “ribs”, which cantilever over the seating tier, radiating dramatically from the corner of the Ground. The overall form of the main roof is reminiscent of an elegantly spreading palm leaf, delicately folded, so that rainwater runs back to the rear edge of the roof. The water is collected at basement level and stored for reuse for the flushing of lavatories. The canopy provides protection from the elements, whilst the translucent qualities also ensure that spectators benefit from both shade and natural light.
Sustainability has also been at the forefront of Populous’ design thinking. In addition to rainwater recycling, a green roof over the rear part of the building, and green walls on the garden facade, solar thermal and photovoltaic roof panels have been incorporated into the roof to generate hot water and electricity respectively. Boreholes and ground source heat pumps are also an integral part of the energy system, so that the heating and cooling system is carbon neutral. Following the completion of the Warner Stand, Populous continues to work with MCC on the development of its Masterplan. The design of the South Western Project, which 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, gained planning consent in 2015.
American white oak (Quercus spp.)
American white oak has a creamy coloured sapwood and a light to dark brown heartwood. White oak is mostly straight grained with a medium to coarse texture, with longer rays than red oak, producing a distinctive and attractive grain pattern.
American white oak is widely available and is a popular choice in export markets around the world for many furniture, flooring and joinery manufacturers due to its colour consistency and the high volume of square edged lumber production, and veneer availability. The wood is hard and heavy, with medium bending and crushing strength. It is low in stiffness, but very good in steam bending.
Location: London, UK
Architects: Populous, GROSS. MAX.
Project Management: Gardiner & Theobald
Contractor: BAM Construct
Technical Systems: Arup
Planning Consultant: DP9
Townscape and Heritage Consultant: Ettwein Bridges
Sunlight, Daylight Consultant: Gordon Ingram Associates (GIA)
Glue Laminated Beams: Hess Timber
American White Oak Lumber: Robinson Lumber Company
Photography: © Morley von Sternberg, © Clare Skinner