This emphasis on long-term value and legacy is particularly pertinent in the broader context of the sports sector, where many stadiums serve fleeting sports events without due consideration of their long-term relevance. Looking beyond the skin-deep glamour and spectacle of increasingly short-lived projects, I believe that the biggest test is to strike the vital balance between sustainability, community need, functionality and the best experience possible for fans. We are committed to producing designs which offer long-term value to their communities in a landscape crowded by ‘single-use’ projects.
Our designs for the Pan American and Parapan American Games hosted in Lima, Peru in 2019 were profoundly informed by the importance of prioritising social value. Coupling Olympic-grade football and athletic stadiums, velodromes and sports arenas with thoughtfully constructed legacy modes, made certain that little opportunity for obsolete space remained. Rather, any seating tiers, event infrastructure or competition space rendered redundant at the end of the event was designed to support continuous adaptation. After Lima’s games, a myriad of modified community facilities such as gyms, commercial space and smaller-scale sporting event spaces metamorphosed the city’s venues from highly specialised sports grounds into places enjoyed by everyone; ensuring longevity beyond any closing ceremony.
This year, I look forward to seeing two of our stadia complete; the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium and Education City stadium will host matches for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Although not needed for the tournament, both have sophisticated cooling technology for year-round use, a critical part of the legacy of the stadia to enable continual use in a desert climate. And, although both stadia look permanent, almost half the capacity is modular, and can be reused to create medium-size stadia or a series of stands for almost any sport. Ultimately, this design approach supports one of the key aims of this world cup: to assist developing nations to achieve their sporting aims.
Our 52,000-seat new home for Everton FC at Bramley-Moore Dock is destined to attract both fans and tourists back to the formerly derelict dockside area so places a similar emphasis on user experience. Set in the Stanley Dock Conservation area, the new stadium celebrates the history of place, combining impressive views and heritage aspects with an exciting match day offer. Before and after games, fans can enjoy the stadium’s entertainment offerings in the well-appointed fan plaza to the east of the site. On the western side, an elevated viewing deck provides sweeping views to the Wirral, the Mersey and the Irish Sea beyond. The extensive new public spaces around Everton also mark a fitting destination for the planned Mersey River Walk, while simultaneously affording protecting from the weather for spectators in the outdoor concourse below.
Looking to the future, our longstanding expertise and a synonymous emphasis on designing places for people are the perfect qualities to complement our partnership with BDP and broaden our scope. The combination of international networks and diverse knowledge will enable us to push the boundaries of sport and stadia design ever further, creating not just venues to showcase the spectacle of the event, but leaving a legacy behind which benefits local communities, encourages healthy activity and promotes wellbeing, and who knows, perhaps one day, supporting the talent of a home grown young world class players of the future.