A Design Story Of Two Sides
Surrey County Cricket Club have ambitious plans to expand one of the world’s most famous and highly cherished sporting facilities. The Lock Laker Stand forms part of the vision to make The Kia Oval the largest dedicated cricket ground outside of India and Australia.
The project involves the redevelopment of the existing stand and the addition of an integral hospitality building. This development site is located in the south eastern corner of the ground. In addition to the extra seats, the proposals will provide an all year round facility with hospitality areas, conference suites with pitch side views, bars and private terraces.
Originally a market garden, in 1845 the Duchy of Cornwall granted a lease to the newly formed Surrey County Cricket Club for the use of the site as their cricket ground. The first test match was played here in 1880, England played Australia, the Ashes series was born and the ground has subsequently become synonymous with cricket.
The design proposals carefully resolve a number of very different issues and requirements. A key consideration is ensuring the incredible match day atmosphere continues and the experience for fans is enhanced. The new intervention is adjacent to the recognisable and locally listed pavilion entrance, a classical red brick building. The ground itself is a collection of stands, each with its own identity which expresses the period in which it was designed and built. The new building will join with this eclectic mix.
Extensive consultation was undertaken throughout the design phase which has proved to be extremely valuable. Participants include Lambeth Council, Transport for London, neighbours, the local community and the Duchy of Cornwall as the freeholder of the site.
The resulting design expression is a story of two sides with the outside relating to the local vernacular and the inside reflecting the action on the pitch. Both combine to provide an optimal experience for fans.
Externally, classical proportions and materials such as brick and reconstituted stone tie in with neighbouring residences. The elevation is beautifully detailed with bronze and stone window surrounds and touches of colour. A decorative motif for panels and gates depicts a simplified leaf, the design of which is inspired by the living wall on the adjacent Peter May Stand.
Facing the pitch is a bolder and more contemporary architectural language. Two additional tiers of seating effortlessly hover over the Peter May and Lock Laker stands. These provide spectacular high levels views of the action. The new building connects through to the pavilion with further seating and terraced areas which lead to some of the new facilities.
The design makes effective use of the available space, includes improvements to the public realm and provides increased activity at street level. Both fans and the local community are set to benefit from these design proposals.