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Herzog & de Meuron working on plans for Chelsea FC


Herzog & de Meuron is understood to be working with Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands on proposals to increase the capacity of Chelsea Football Club’s Stamford Bridge home

The AJ has learned that the practice behind the 2008 ‘bird’s nest’ National Stadium in Beijing, China is looking at concept designs for the potential revamp of the club’s existing 41,837-seat stadium in west London.

The Swiss-based firm has already designed one major football stadium project - the much-publicised Allianz Arena, in Munich, Germany - and is working across the capital on the extension to the Tate Modern.

In June, Chelsea FC announced it had commissioned a study to review different improvement options for Stamford Bridge, which could include decking over the railway line to the east and the north of the stadium, and had launched consultation on the extent of the plans. The club wants to increase its capacity to nearer 60,000.

Chelsea has previously looked at several new locations for a new stadium including Earls Court Exhibition Centre, White City and, with KPF, at Battersea Power Station south of the Thames.

However the club faced opposition from supporters and the Chelsea Pitch Owners plc, which stipulated that the club needed to change their name if they moved from Stamford Bridge.

In a statement released by the club in the summer about the Stamford Brigde study, a spokesman for Chelsea FC said: ‘A study of the area from Fulham Broadway town centre to Stamford Bridge and beyond has been commissioned by Chelsea Football Club’s owner Roman Abramovich.

‘This study will review the potential for improvements to publicly-owned areas along Fulham Road and the area around the football ground, including the possibility of decking over the railway lines to the east and north of the ground. This could create landscaped public walkways and cycleways, while also reducing pedestrian traffic on Fulham Road and nearby streets on match days.

‘The study will also assess the feasibility of an expansion of the stadium within the existing historic site boundaries, potentially to enlarge its capacity, enhance its facilities and improve the movement of people and vehicles on match and non-matchdays.’

Neither Herzog & de Meuron and Chelsea FC were available for comment about the appointment.


Readers' comments (4)

  • I wish them luck as the exiting stadium is hedged in with a Hotel and other commercial uses that it will be difficult to demolish to make space to redevelop the existing stadium into all covered 60,000 capacity super stadium. Prior to the redevelopment masterminded by Ken Bates the then chairman in the 1980's Stamford Bridge was a very big ground surrounded by a circuit used in the early 19390's for Speedway. When I first went there supporting Arsenal as a lad there was midget car racing and athletics. It was a ground with "elbow room" for expansion to the 60,000 capacity needed for a club of Chelsea's stature. That was lost in Ken Bates redevelopment the funding of which nearly backrupted the club. Now Chelsea probably have to move as Arsenal did in the early 200's when Highbury was to small and could not be extended. When Ken Friar was masterminding the new Emirates Stadium I warned him - remember you are building in Highbury - no hotels. Supporters will always vote against moving from their historic ground but I suspect that Chelsea will need to and hope that the planning study of the surrounding area will throw up an alternative site suitable for the super stadium Chelsea need as it did for Arsenal. Owen Luder CBE PPRIBA and author "Sports Stadia after Hillsborough.

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  • Answer to Luder.
    Chelsea pitch owners own Chelsea, Mr Abramovich is a tennant. The owners of Chelsea have made it quite clear that Chelsea FC will always play at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea pitch owners can not be taken over, no one person or group can wrestle control, that is to ensure the fans always own the club.
    If Mr Abramovich wanted to move his team they would have to change their name and Chelsea FC would have to form a new team at their historic home. Put simply it is impossible to move Chelsea Football Club.

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  • Victor. I am aware of that and I am well aware that supporters do not want to move from their long term historic venue that is part of their lives. But the present Stamford Bridge is hemmed in with the surrounding 1980's commercial development which would be extremely expensive (unless money is no object) to acquire control and demolish these to enable it to expand from 41,000 to 60,000 that Chelsea as a major European Club needs. This is very much the Arsenal situation where we were faced with a historic stadium limited to 38,000 that no supporter wanted to leave but accepted we had to move and were able develop 60,000 super stadium close by. If Hertzog & de Meuron and the other consultants involved can identify a and acquire a viable development site nearby that will enable Chelsea to move to a 60,000 new super stadium I have no doubt the Chelsea supporter who own Stamford Bridge will agree to be part of the move. Owen Luder

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  • Reply to Victor Moody
    I think that some aspects of your comment require clarification.

    CPO do not own 'Chelsea'. They own the land on which the stadium & pitch are sited.

    Neither the owners of Chelsea, nor CPO shareholders, have stated that CFC will always play at Stamford Bridge. That may be the ambition of many CPO shareholders but when a vote was taken in 2011 on the club's proposal to buy back the land, more than 61% of shareholder votes cast, were cast in favour. That poll took place in full understanding that a move away from Stamford Bridge was under active consideration. All those who voted yes were implicitly giving consent for the club to make such a move.

    The CPO do not own the club and nor do they own the Permier League share which would entitle them to field an alternative team in that competition. If the club moved away from Stamford Bridge it would need to change its name but it would retain the right to field a team in The Premier League.

    In that circumstance the club would also continue to own the stadium and it would at least be problematic, and probably impossible, for any rump CFC to use the facilities at Stamford Bridge. To repeat, CPO own the land and nothing else.

    It is not impossible for Chelsea Football Club to move away from Stamford Bridge. It may even be desirable for it to do so. Certainly that's the opinion of some CFC fans, including myself.

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