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Stamford Bridge architects want to create a hefty, medieval fortress

Definitely not a cookie-cutter stadium.

As the three-day public consultation and exhibition about the new Stamford Bridge comes to a close, let's review what we've learned.

Sources:  @sidcelery@cfcunofficialRuudieCan'tFailTLoDD; media reports

  • Chelsea to stay in SW6, on the only site we've ever called home.  Last major construction was in 2001 (finishing the West Stand), which, incidentally, is one of the major reasons we are where we are today thanks to the financial crisis it helped create.
  • Dream team of architects, engineers and planners:
    • Masterplan: Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands (RIBA London Architects of the Year 2015)
    • Stadium: Herzog & de Meuron (Beijing Bird's Nest; Munich Allianz Arena; New Bordeaux Stadium, Tate Modern, etc.)
    • Environmental:  AECOM;  Transportation: Parsons Brinckerhoff;  Engineering, supervision, construction:  Schlaich Bergermann & Partner
  • Estimated year of completion:  2020 — two more years of planning, three years to build.  Compare to Arsenal's new ground, which took nine years from start to finish (5 years of politics, 4 years to build), though that involved a slightly different set of challenges as new land had to be purchased, and we can see how much planning work has already been put into this.
    • Current favorite for temporary relocation:  Wembley Stadium, 8 miles away.  Twickenham still in play, and could be a fallback option if Spurs cause too much trouble in challenging for Wembley (their new stadium is predicted finish a year before ours as of right now).  Whichever temporary stadium is chosen, it will definitely not be another league ground (so no ground share).
  • New capacity:  60,000, possibly as high as 65,000.  For now, it will be an all-seater, but safe-standing could be an option in the future (possibly in lower tier of the Shed).  Creation of a "wall" like at BVB stadium not possible due to height/light rules.
  • Exit capacity issues will be mostly solved by creation of a walkway directly from the stadium to Fulham Broadway over the District line cutting.  This walkway has been planned since 2002.  Foot traffic on Fulham Road should decrease.  ("Face" of stadium would probably move from West Stand to North Stand or the northwest corner — Osgood statue would be able to stay where it is.)
  • Three-tiered, cantilevered stands all around (projecting noise down onto the pitch), but overall height of the stadium will not increase thanks to digging down several (4, to be exact) meters.  All four stands will essentially be rebuilt.  Estimated cost:  £500m (real cost: probably more).
    • Stands will retain their names:  East, West, Shed End (i.e. South), Matthew Harding (i.e. North).  They will "retain their individual identities" as well, despite all becoming far more homogenized.
    • Season ticket holders will keep their seats as much as possible.  Capacity for children will double.  Disabled access will double.  Hospitality accommodations will triple.  Some seats will be reserved for local residents and/or schoolchildren and the like.  One of the aims is to help reduce the average age of fans attending, which should lead to better atmosphere.
    • Away fans will remain in SE corner, but might get moved to upper levels.  They will have a dedicated entrance/exit underneath the stadium, leading to Bovril Gate, which is the skinniest exit out onto Fulham Road.
  • Pitch will be increased to meet UEFA standard size.  No more yearly waivers!
  • Pitch orientation will remain the same.  Hotels, megastore, Under the Bridge, etc. will all be gone.  Surrounding historic sites will remain unharmed and respected.  Still, not everyone's happy.
    • On a final sour(er) note, remember how when previous expansion plans were mulled publicly, one of the biggest things against it was the prohibitive cost?  Where did those concerns go?  Is the Abramovic family-dynasty rhetoric tied into this decision in some way?
  • Modern interior; classic exterior.

The Guardian has a fairly interesting feature on the new stadium's design, including an interview with Jacques Herzog himself.

We have tried to make it a place where people will really feel at home ... a castle, or a medieval walled village ... something you wouldn't find anywhere else. It is beyond beauty or ugliness. It's about creating something unique. Like Anfield - that is certainly not a nice stadium, but it has this amazing tradition.

-Jacques Herzog; source: Guardian

The designs certainly have a brutalist feel to them, with genuine architectural merit.  Massive brick structures, imposing walls (yet also inviting with an emphasis on urban integration while celebrating England's "national religion").  Combine those with the gothic cues of Westminster, and it's going to be a veritable Fortress Stamford Bridge.  A cathedral of football for the fans, an imposing fortress for the enemy.  Oh my!

Lastly, here's an image gallery of the exhibition, courtesy of TLoDD.  Enjoy!

Chelsea New Stadium fan consultation

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