Herzog & de Meuron have unveiled a cathedral-inspired revamp of Stamford Bridge
Consultants Aecom, WSP and Schlaich Bergermann have landed key roles on the cathedral-inspired revamp of Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge stadium.
Hundreds of people queued up this week to see the first images of the stadium, designed for Chelsea FC by Tate Modern-architect Herzog & de Meuron.
The strongly vertical, gothic-influenced stadium would be built in brick on the club’s existing Stamford Bridge ground in Fulham. It features slender columns and arcades and a rib-like exoskeleton.
Aecom is strategic planner, WSP is providing railways and transportation expertise and German engineer Schlaich Bergermann is structural engineer.
The architects say they were influenced by both the architecture and the sense of the collective found at Westminster Abbey, which once owned the literal Stamford bridge. And the three-day public consultation, which attracted around 1,500 people, began with a letter of support from the Bishop of Salisbury predicting the new stadium would be a hit.
The challenge is to increase the venue’s capacity from 42,000 to 60,000. The constrained site is bordered on two sides by Tube and railway lines and on the others by existing homes.
The £500 million-plus proposals, funded by owner Roman Abramovich, follow last year’s study of the wider area by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands which is masterplanning the project.
The plans would see two hotels on the site demolished to maximise space for the stadium, whose lower tiers would likely be below street level.
The neighbouring West London Line would be decked over to create access routes. A precedent for this has been created by the Farrells-masterplanned Earl’s Court redevelopment immediately to the north where a linear park will sprout above the railway cutting.
A direct link to Fulham Broadway station is also proposed, plus an entirely rebuilt and widened road bridge – the descendant of the 14th-century Samfordesbrigge – relieving what is currently a traffic pinch point.
The existing stadium and hotels were designed by KSS, also using brick but in the post-modern style. Their completion around the turn of the century was the culmination of a long and highly political process that nearly brought the club to its knees under former chairman Ken Bates.
The original stadium, which replaced an athletics facility in 1906, was designed by Archibald Leitch to “stagger humanity”.
Boththe club and the architects refused to issue images of their plans to the press, so these photographs were taken by BD from sepia images on fabric banners at the public consultation.
A version of this story appeared on Building Design