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Kop a load of this: first look at Liverpool FC's new Main Stand

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KSS Design Group’s expansion of Liverpool Football Club’s Main Stand at Anfield was opened to fans for the first time on Saturday (10 September) 

The extension increases the stand’s size by about 8,300 seats, making it the largest-capacity single stand in the country, and giving Anfield an overall capacity of 54,000. It was granted planning approval in 2014. 

The stadium plans form part of a wider £260 million regeneration programme for the area, including new homes, public spaces, businesses facilities and a 100-room hotel.

KSS’s completed scheme follows a long line of unrealised designs to expand capacity at Liverpool FC, including plans by AFL for a new 60,000-seat stadium, which won planning permission back in July 2004.

Both AFL’s and then Texas-based practice HKS’s redesigned plan to build on a site in Edward Kemp’s historic Stanley Park proved controversial and were abandoned before the decision was finally made to redevelop Anfield in 2012.

Jeremy Fisher, a director at KSS, said: ‘The design reflects the owners’ desire for a stand 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, the Wirral Peninsula and Irish Sea as well as focusing in on the pitch.’

The stand was officially unveiled on 9 September, and football fans used it for the first time on Saturday (10 September), when Liverpool beat current Premier League champions Leicester City 4-1. 

Architect’s view 

The Main Stand is a rectilinear frame building with two new seating tiers set above the original 1906 Archibald Leitch-designed tier, and a 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 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 and enhance standard concrete block walls. The choices of internal finishes maintain the theme, with wayfinding signage based on local street sign typologies. Extensive graphics keep alive great moments in the club’s history.

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