Six of the best: The architecture of cricket grounds
To celebrate the Twenty20 World Cup, the Architects’ Journal judges the best in cricket architecture
6. DY Patil Stadium, Mumbai, India
Completed last year, this splendid ground was designed by prominent Indian architects Hafeez Contractor. The pavilion end has a stand either side of the scoreboard, plus a cantilevered gull wing roof to give it a dramatic flourish - and to ensure no spectator has a restricted view. The stadium saw Adam Gilchrist hit a century in 42 balls in the Indian Premier League.
5. MCG, Melbourne, Australia
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is a classic in stadium design. Host to the first ever Test match, and now home to a capacity 100,000 crowd. Voted one of the Seven Sporting Wonders of the World in a recent poll of British sports fans, the stadium had to move to its current site in 1853 when the tracks for Australia’s first steam train cut through the old Melbourne Cricket Club ground.
4 Kensington Oval, Barbados
Another top international venue, ARUP Associates’ Kensington Oval has all the ingredients of the modern hi-tech cricket ground: long cantilever roofs, louvres, gills and diffuse lighting devices. Largely rebuilt to host the 2007 World Cup Final, its striking Worrell, Weeks and Walcott Stand provides column-free views of the action in a structure designed to withstand hurricane winds, heavy rainfall and tropical temperatures.
3. Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa
With nearby Devils Peak and Table Mountain for neighbours, it’s unsurprising that Newlands’ dramatic setting has earned it the title of most beautiful cricket ground in the world. Unfortunately the low-rise stadium recently gave way to modernity and had sections of its grass embankment replaced by pavilions, bumping up its seating capacity to 25,000.
2. Gadaffi Stadium, Lahore, Pakistan
Designed by Pakistani Architect Murat Khan and completed in 1959, the Gaddafi Stadium’s distinctive red brickwork and arches were modelled on the Mughal dynasties’ school of construction. And, yes, it is that Gaddafi: the ground was renamed in 1974 after a rousing speech by Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi advocating Pakistan’s right to develop a nuclear weapon program.
Gadaffi has seen three international hat-tricks: by Peter Petherick of New Zealand in 1976, Wasim Akram of Pakistan in 1999 and Mohammad Sami of Pakistan in 2002. In March this year six members of the Sri Lankan cricket team were injured on their way to the ground by gunmen who killed six policemen and two civilians.
1. Lord’s, London, England
As well as Victorian architect Thomas Verity’s Pavilion, which still stands, completed in 1890, the architects who have made additions to ‘The Home of Cricket’ is a who’s who of the significant hi-tech architects of the late twentieth century. Most famous is the Lord’s Media Centre, which won Jan Kaplicky and Amanda Levete’s Future Systems the Stirling Prize in 1999.
The bulbous form is supported above the ground by two lift shafts and its glazed facade give journalists and commentators an uninterrupted view of the ground. The curved structure was fabricated using boat-building technology and was the first all aluminium, semi-monocoque building in the world.
Adjacent to this is Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners Grandstand, completed in 1996. The stand is a three tier post-tensioned structure with capacity for 6,200 spectators.
Completing the high-tech group, Hopkins and Partners designed Lord’s Mound Stand, an intervention that retained the original Victorian arcade on the ground’s exterior while building a new steel superstructure topped off with an exuberant fabric canopy of PVC-coated polyester fabric.
Less public, but an important project nevertheless, is David Morley Architects’ Indoor Cricket School on the same site. It was the first indoor facility to utilise natural light for the playing area.