The Warner Stand at Lord’s Cricket Ground
London, England, UK
CHALLENGE. The Warner Stand was the first phase of MCC’s ambitious masterplan-led redevelopment, and is located in the western corner of Lord’s Cricket Ground.
Lord’s is not a traditional stadium, in the sense that the various stands that surround the pitch each have a separate identity that contribute to the character of the Ground. Inserting a new building with its own clear and confident identity into this existing ‘campus’ of buildings, without dominating the overall composition, has been the main architectural challenge for the project.
INNOVATION. The stand was designed to significantly improve the view for spectators, whilst also exceeding best practice standards for accessibility so that it is fully inclusive. Spaces within the building include a state-of-the-art match control suite for officials and the emergency services, bars and other facilities for spectators, and a 135-cover restaurant with magnificent views over the Ground, designed to be used throughout the year for dining or as an event space.
"MCC has always sought to commission innovative, unique buildings and stands that add to and complement the heritage of the ground and its surroundings. Populous' design does just that, and this truly outstanding facility will be enjoyed by visitors to Lord's for many years to come."Robert Ebdon / MCC's Assistant Secretary
The roof of the stand is formed from translucent tensile fabric, supported on cantilevering American White Oak beams that radiate dramatically from this corner of the Ground. The canopy provides protection from the elements, whilst also ensuring that spectators benefit from both shade and natural light. A unique atmosphere is created in the restaurant, as the fabric roof is both translucent and insulating. It is the first use of this kind of fabric in Europe, and the extensive glazing with very large sliding sashes allow occupants of the restaurant to enjoy the ambience of the Ground, from within the building.
The height of the building was carefully calculated so that it sits comfortably within the collection of buildings at Lord’s, particularly the Grade II* listed Pavilion alongside it.
IMPACT. Sustainability has also been at the forefront of the design thinking. 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. Rainwater is collected from the roof and stored at basement level, before being recycled for the flushing of WCs. Improving the experience for visitors to Lord’s was a priority, with increased areas for circulation, high quality bars and food outlets, and even a hamper collection point. The landscaping around the stand will contribute to the safe, inclusive and enjoyable environment.
The New Warner Stand opened in May 2017, and has already proved to be a great success with Members, as well as opening new revenue opportunities for Marylebone Cricket Club.
As part of the first phase in an ambitious 20-year master plan planned by Marylebone Cricket Club, Populous was commissioned to redevelop the aging Warner Stand at Lord’s Cricket Ground with a focus on improving the experiences of spectators and people who come on tours, while also maintaining the special character of the venue.
Set between a grade II-listed pavilion and the iconic Grandstand, the historic context of the building was a key consideration in its design. The scheme features splayed American white oak beams supporting a new tensile-fabric roof that extends dramatically out over the 2,674-capacity seating tiers like a fan. In addition to providing shelter for spectators, the fabric also moderates the crowd noise to minimise its impact on neighbouring residents.
The design is also pioneering within sports architecture in its incorporation of sustainability features. Boreholes with ground source heat pumps have been installed to heat and cool the building aided by solar thermal panels in the roof, while rainwater run-off from the roof is collected in the basement and used to flush the toilets. The rear façade of the building has been covered with greenery to create a ‘living wall’ that contributes to the immediate ecological system.
The redevelopment of the Warner Stand included the incorporation of new bars and catering facilities on each level of the building, helping to ease crowd congestion on rainy match days when spectators from the stand are forced to retreat indoors.
The most distinctive feature of this new suite of amenities is a large restaurant at the top of the stand that is fronted by a glazed wall to allow diners to watch the cricket from the comfort of their tables.