Cricket has been played at Lord’s for over 200 years. Owned by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), it is revered as the spiritual home of the sport and houses the game’s coveted Ashes urn. To mark its bicentenary in 1987, the MCC staged a design competition to replace its ageing Mound Stand with a new visual icon for the famous ground.
‘Construction stops play’ was not an option for the MCC, who wanted the programme completed within a single six month off-season. Together with architects Michael Hopkins and Partners, our winning solution would build around the existing terrace, saving the time, disruption and cost of demolition.
5000 spectators seated in stand
6month construction period
A new symbol for cricket’s home
The new steel frame structure added above the historic terrace created a layered stand with seating, debenture areas and hospitality boxes. This approach also allowed for prefabrication off-site, helping meet a challenging deadline.
On top of this structure, an elegant and translucent fabric roof replaced the ageing steel and asbestos of the original. As well as providing shelter and improving the spectators’ experience, the roof gave Lord’s a new visual signature. Its style deliberately evokes the marquees of village green cricket.
Playing within the rules
The constraints of a project can sometimes become the impetus for innovation and more thoughtful design. To manage cost and simplify the extent of the structural frame, the team refined the number of cables, masts and pickups needed to hold the fabric in place. The reduced structure not only cost less, it helped preserve the elegance of the roof’s design.
The £4.5 million budget also informed the choice of fabric. Coating polyester with PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and treating it with durable PVDF (polyvinylidene difluoride) would create a roof with a 15-year lifespan and be affordable to replace and recycle.
The fabric in fact lasted 17 years. In 2005, we surveyed and digitally modelled the roof before replacing it, allowing the new 1,400m2 single piece canopy to faithfully replicate the contours of the original. The distinctive tented profile of the Mount Stand’s canopy continues to be the symbol for Lord’s to cricket fans the world over.
Shaping a better world
Founded by Sir Ove Arup, we are firm of designers, planners, engineers, architects, consultants and technical specialists all focused – like our work at 52 Lime Street – on shaping a better world.