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Populous is latest to join Lord’s saga

Populous has been hired to work up alternative plans for Lord’s cricket ground following the collapse of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris’s (AHMM) redevelopment vision

The AJ100 practice has already started working with Marylebone Cricket Club on the project, which is expected to be part of a fresh ‘stand-by-stand’ approach to modernising Lord’s, announced after AHMM’s vision was not taken forward.

A previous £400 million masterplan by Herzog & de Meuron for the west London venue was shelved just over a year ago.

The firm’s competition-winning masterplan was halted in February last year, when an advisory group to the MCC was disbanded. The club had reportedly spent £3 million on the Swiss practice’s vision, which featured five residential towers and a submerged entrance beneath the club’s ‘nursery ground’.

Then in November, the 225-year-old cricket club officially abandoned a revised version of the masterplan by AHMM and developer Almacantar. The scheme featured four residential blocks, a colonnade and new indoor academy, allowing the club to expand its capacity from 28,000 to 33,000.

In a statement issued at the time, MCC chairman Oliver Stocken said future redevelopment would most likely focus on Lord’s Pavilion End with the ‘rebuilding and enhancement’ of the Tavern and Allen Stands.

Almacantar chief executive Mike Hussey has now moved to sue the MCC for £750,000 in abortive costs on the project. Former prime minister John Major also resigned from the MCC after the Almacantar scheme was shelved.

Populous, whose principal, the Olympic Stadium designer Philip Johnson previously worked on a 2006 masterplan for the Lord’s site, is working on the project alongside a ‘ground working party’ chaired by University of Nottingham architecture graduate Colin Maber.

Lord’s will host archery events during the London 2012 Olympic Games in August. The stadium is one of three locations due to be transformed by Populous into temporary venues for the games, using Future System’s Stirling Prize-winning Lord’s media centre as its backdrop.



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