Ahead of TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Summit 2016 (31 Oct-2 Nov), key sponsors KSS release a case study on one of the greatest grandstand transformations of modern times. Registered delegates of the Summit are offered the opportunity to tour the redevelopment with an exclusive briefing by the team behind the project.
Anfield is a unique British sporting venue and a major landmark in the City of Liverpool. Its expansion sits at the heart of a new Liverpool City Council led master plan which links Walton Breck Road to the historic Stanley Park, and forms part of a much needed wider regeneration of the Anfield area. The first phase 20,600 capacity Main Stand is the largest single stand in the country and provides facilities for general admission, premium seat hospitality and essential back of house operation.
The design reflects the Club owners’ desire for a building which enhances the identity of the ground but maintains the traditional four stand configuration and reinforces the intense Anfield spectator experience. The elevated setting and new public realm space has also given the opportunity to create a venue that offers spectacular views outwards across the City, Wirral Peninsular and Irish Sea as well as focusing in on the pitch, and also a commerative garden for the Hillsborough Memorial.
The two main drivers underpinning the development were LFC’s need to maintain Main Stand capacity and facilities in and beneath the existing lower tier during construction, and the need for a construction programme designed around football seasons. Complex works had to be carried out in the second 2016 close season in the run in to completion, including removing the existing roof structure and television gantry and extensive re-profiling of the existing lower tier seating.
The internal works to the new players changing facilities and media centre within the existing stand structure could not be completed during the close season, so temporary facilities have been provided until they are ready in December 2016. The players’ tunnel has though already been moved closer to the centre line of the pitch, and the iconic “This is Anfield” sign home team players traditionally touch for luck as they go out onto the pitch has been retained in the new design.
The Main stand is a rectilinear frame building with two new seating tiers set above the original 1906 Archibald Leitch tier, and a 140m long prismatic steel goal post roof structure with clean top side and soffit. The external massing is driven by the seating configuration and adopts an architectural language of strong vertical elements tempered by splays and chamfers to maintain the rugged individuality of the ground, soften the scale with smaller adjacent stands and observe rights to light of adjacent residential properties.
The seating capacity has increased from 12,100 to just under 20,600, a net gain of around 8,500 seats. The existing lower tier retains 8,060 general admission seats but also includes around 1,260 new hospitality seats and 220 box seats serving 12 boxes to the rear. The new middle tier provides a further 3,150 hospitality seats and the new upper tier a further 7,910 general admission seats.
Materials and colour palette draw on the Club’s heritage, local vernacular and the City’s industrial past. The steel frame has been expressed both externally and internally, and external red brick cladding has been drawn into the interior to enliven the concourses to enhance standard concrete block walls. Internal finishes choices maintain the theme, with wayfinding signage based on local street sign typologies, and extensive graphics keep alive great moments in the Club’s history.
A Success Story
Design work on the Main Stand started in earnest in October 2013, planning consent was obtained in September 2014 and Carillion plc started work on site in November 2014 and completed in September of this year, 22 months later. The Club expect to bring in an extra £20m per season in extra revenue through match day ticket sales and hospitality packages. The expanded venue hosted its league first game on 10 September 2016 with the Reds recording an impressive 4-1 win against champions Leicester City FC in front of an attendance of 53,075, the biggest at Anfield since 1977.
The Club are aware at the outset that demand for tickets (particularly general admission) would not be solved by increasing the capacity of the Main Stand alone, and a second phase expansion of the Anfield Road Stand would take the ground capacity up to around 60,000. Outline planning consent for this was granted at the same time as that for the Main Stand, and the expansion would involve stopping off and building beyond Anfield Road behind the existing stand.