News on the new
Stamford Bridge Commercial-Sponsor-Arena have receded into the background over the past couple months, but they were back in full effect on Tuesday — even crashing the Hammersmith & Fulham Council's webpage, among others — as Chelsea submitted (and published) the full planning application to the council for approval. This step marks the end of the public consultation, which included a few fancy exhibitions and discussions around the plans.
- Stadium seating capacity to expand from 41,600 to 60,000 spectators
- An outstanding view of the stadium from every seat
- An arena designed to create an exciting atmosphere
- Direct access to and from Fulham Broadway Station, making travel more efficient
- Stadium facilities improved for every area
Considering that the full application consists of 210 (!) separate documents and over 3000 total pages, getting final approval will not be instantaneous. While most expect that Chelsea will get the approval, there will be several more hurdles to clear in the near future, including the whole Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO) issue as well as just where Chelsea will play in the interim. Here's Dan Levene on ChelseaFansChannel to talk about that, and other issues as well.
But what about the plans themselves? Can we learn anything new from the full application?
First off, we have tons of official renders of the new stadium (see lead picture), though obviously none of these are necessarily what the final product will look like (especially inside the stadium, with regards to seats, which they assure will be blue). There's a useful thread on Skyscraper City that may be of interest and here's an Imgur album of some of the architectural drawings included in the planning application, too. Plus, the cover pages to the various reports have a really bad-ass version of the badge.
Enterprising Twitterers have compiled the 210 separate documents into one massive 600MB file for perusal at your leisure. Loading that up certainly got my laptop's fans whirring.
Ignoring some of the less interesting (to me) aspects of the app, including stuff about trees (quality, type, value, pruning, removal, replacement), utilities, waste management, rainfall profiles, vermin protection, and billion appendices, here are a few things we can learn from the documents. Please do leave a comment below if you find something interesting as well; this thing is massive and I'm sure I missed plenty of juicy details.
- Basic facts y'all should know by now: knock everything down (but not surrounding residences); 60,000 new capacity. Improved access via walkways over railway and tube lines, taking pressure off Fulham Road. Sunken pitch, four stands; all seated.
- 70% "strongly supported" the plans in the phase 2 of the public consultation, with a further 20% "liking the ideas". No plans to hold other major events or non-Chelsea matches in the new stadium. Conferences and such, just like now, will continue to be held.
- Initial feasibility studies occurred as far back as October 2011. Herzog & de Meuron first involved in 2014.
- The height of the stadium is limited by "rights of light" as well as preserving a "view corridor" from King Henry's Mound in Richmond Park to St. Paul's Cathedral. The top of the new structure is thus limited to a little over 50m above sea level; the top of new Stamford Bridge will at 46.12m to preserve this view. (Ah, the joys of building in a city like London!)
- Herzog & de Meuron's initial proposal (April 2014) was a giant brick building with just a slot at concourse level allowing view into the structure. Further proposals concentrated on reducing the "overbearing" nature of the building, while still creating something unique and imposing.
- There will be 264 brick piers (132 large, 132 small), which will flow into the steel roof beams
- Really liking pictures such as these, which show how the character of the new stadium fits in with the surroundings, especially the conservation areas like Brompton Cemetery.
- First row of seats will be just 7.2m from the pitch. Steepest rake will match the current East Stand's rake angle. Furthest seat will be well within FIFA recommendations. Like most modern stadiums, fans will be able to circulate around the whole stadium, rather than just each individual stand.
- Visiting fans will move from the Southeast to the Southwest corner; they will be arranged vertically over 1500-3000 seats.
- Media and player facilities will move from the East Stand to the West Stand. Team benches will do the same.
- New South and West Terraces. It's envisioned that the South Terrace (with the bridge structure) will become a bustling area during non-matchdays, too, with cafes, the team store, team museum all open.
- "The practice of honouring former players in photographs on the Shed End wall will continue. At each entrance, the piers will feature the Chelsea FC logo. Within the stadium, slab edges fronting entrance atria will be blue as will be the underside of the seating bowl on its upper levels. The statue of Peter Osgood (1947-2006) by Philip Jackson will be retained, as will the Hilsdon Weathervane."
- There aren't any further significant details on the new seating arrangements other than what we had learned before.
- Facade detail with the "crozier elements" between the brick pillars. (A crozier is the thing that the lion's holding on the Chelsea badge.):
- A single mix of brick will be used, laid in "a traditional manner" including "broken bricks" two sides of the piers. "It is our intention to explore the materiality of our building through [visualisations] in order to find the ideal brick mix. [...] These mock ups will be done in partnership with the LBHF planning team."
- (Potential) Construction timeline:
STAGE 1: Oct 2016 - Oct 2017: Work on decking platforms over railway lines
STAGE 2: Jun 2017 - Sep 2018: Team moves out; demolition and dig down
STAGE 3: Jun 2018 - Oct 2019: Building of superstructure
STAGE 4: Dec 2018 - Jul 2020: Fitting-out, landscaping, commissioning
In conclusion: EXCITING!