UK firms join the scrum for Ireland’s Lansdowne Road ground against HOK Sport and SKM Anthony Hunts

Architects Fosters and Partners and the Richard Rogers Partnership are among a list of practices competing to design the redevelopment of the Lansdowne Road rugby stadium in Ireland.

Building understands that the architects will be up against HOK Sport, Arup and a team lead by Australian-owned design firm SKM Anthony Hunts, which is understood to have paired with a local Irish architect.

It is also understood there is a shortlist of four leading consultants competing to project-manage the redevelopment.

The Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company has indicated that the project manager will be announced by the end of March, and that work will begin immediately afterwards.

It is anticipated that LRSDC will apply for planning permission before the end of 2005 and the LRSDC expects a decision during 2006, with construction beginning straight away.

One project source told Building that Arup was the frontrunner to design the project as it had close links with the Irish Rugby Football Union.

The source said: “Arup has put in a lot of groundwork and is close to the client and despite a list of star architects being interested, Arup has to be favourite.”

It is understood that consultant was in Dublin last week conducting final interviews with the client.

Despite a list of star architects, Arup has to be favourite

Lansdowne Road project source

At the beginning of September 2004, John O’Donoghue, Irish minister for arts, sport and tourism, announced the redevelopment of Lansdowne Road into a 50,000-capacity all-seater stadium.

In order for the development to win planning permission, the LRSDC will have to pay for improvement work on an adjacent road called Boundary Walk. The LRSDC has commissioned drawings that show how the road would be lit and landscaped.

n Grimshaws is believed to be working on designs for the redevelopment of Heathrow Terminal 1, a project that will rival Richard Rogers Partnership’s Terminal 5.

It is understood that Grimshaws is redesigning the terminal for the Star Alliance group of airlines, which wants a branded home to match British Airways’ T5, due to open in 2008.

The airport, which is home to more than 90 airlines and has 63 million visitors a year, says it needs to upgrade its facilities to meet growing passenger demand.

BAA has a framework agreement with a number of architects such as Foster and Grimshaw which enables them to design when projects arise.