As reported earlier, Chelsea held a three-day consultation with fans, club members, stakeholders and local residents, to discuss the expansion plans for the stadium and to exhibit the proposed design. The fans learned about the planning during the meeting, and also lent their opinions on how they felt about revamping the stadium and developing the adjoining area.
With the consultation phase and exhibition now over, let us take a look at the takeaways from the meeting:
Stamford Bridge will be the permanent stadium
For years, there have been discussions about moving to a new site, in order to increase the capacity so that more match day attendances result in more revenue for the club. Places like the Battersea Power Station were being considered even just three years ago. But now the writing is on the wall- Chelsea will not leave Stamford Bridge. SW6 was and will always be the holy home for all the Blues around the globe.
The builders are no rookies
The plans for expanding the stadium were first commissioned by the boss himself, Mr. Roman Abramovich. And whenever Mr. Roman has taken a decision, it has always been about doing or bringing the best to Chelsea Football Club. So it was never going to be any different when it came to renovating the stadium. The master plan is being laid down by Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, the winners of the prestigious RIBA London Architects of the Year 2015. Lifschutz has designed a lot of properties, including The University of Birmingham’s indoor sports facility. The stadium will be revamped by the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, the builders of the Bird’s Nest, the Allianz Arena, the Prada Store in Tokyo and a host of other glamorous properties.
Change in size of the pitch and creation of new structures
The new stadium will be an all-seater, but safe standing could be viable in the lower tier of the Shed in the future. The exit issues will be solved by building a walkway or a bridge right from the stadium to Fulham Broadway. There will also be a walkway behind the East End over the railway lines, that will take the fans directly to the Fulham Road. The face of the stadium could be changed from the West Stand to the North Stand.
Three-tiered cantilever stands will be built all around to project all the noise of the fans onto the pitch, but the overall height of the stadium will remain the same due to digging down. The stands, i.e., the West End, the East End, the Shed End and the Matthew Harding Stand, will retain their names and individual identities, even though they will be somewhat homogenized.
The overall capacity may increase by over 50%
The capacity of the new revamped Stamford Bridge will be somewhere between 60,000 and 65000, which is almost 1.5 times the current capacity of 41,798. The size of the pitch will be increased to the standard UEFA size, but with the same orientation. The season ticket holders will be able to keep their seats more or less while the capacity for children, and the disabled will be doubled (learn something Manchester United!!). Hospitality Accommodations will almost triple while some seats will be reserved for schoolchildren and local residents, with the aim of reducing the average attendance age, which would better the atmosphere in the stadium. Away fans will remain in the South East corner, with their entrance and exit ways beneath the stadium through the Bovril Gate onto Fulham Road.
Wembley might be a temporary home
Building the new structure would cost around 500 million pounds while it is estimated to be completed by 2020. With two more years of planning and three years to actually build the stadium, Chelsea may have to move to Wembley in a couple of years. With Wembley being only 8 miles away, the usage conditions would be holding as many matches as needed, as long as the attendance is not more than 50,000, which should not be a problem, considering Chelsea have a current attendance of 41000 on average.
The new structure inspired by Westminster Abbey and London’s general architectural history
The exterior of the stadium will have a gothic feel about it, with it’s designs reminding the people of the medieval ages. The architects have been inspired by Westminster Abbey and have also taken a look at the 14th century Stamford Bridge that once stood at the place, which have inclined them to design massive bricked structures and high walls. Jacques Herzog himself, in an interview to Oliver Wainwright, said:
“We have tried to make it a place where people will really feel at home.The new stadium will have the feeling of a castle, or a medieval walled village, something you wouldn’t find anywhere else. It is beyond beauty or ugliness”
Source – The Guardian
With the expansion planning at its full seriousness, a massive stadium not only will be an imposing presence in the heart of London and European football, it will bring in massive revenues through increased attendances. A new large stadium with a brutal architecture will be a statement of intent, signaling a new dawn that has been rising since the last decade, the Roman Era.
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Edited By: Karan Dubey
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