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Herzog & de Meuron’s Chelsea FC stadium set for approval

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Herzog & de Meuron’s planned new stadium for Chelsea Football Club has been recommended for approval by Hammersmith & Fulham Council

Plans for the west London stadium were submitted in December 2015, proposing a three-tier, four-stand, bowl with a capacity of 60,000 compared with the current 41,837.

The ground will be enclosed by 264 brick piers, which will rise up and over spectators to support a circular steel ring connected to radial steel roof trusses, 50m above the bowl. The spaces between the piers will create entrance halls and sheltered arcades at ground level.

The recommendation to approve comes after the local authority scrutinised the plans for more than a year, with the council writing to the club at the end of last June to request more details on environmental and design impacts of the £600 million scheme.

In a report to the planning applications committee, case officer John Sanchez acknowledged that the council’s design review panel had congratulated the project team on the plans saying the Swiss stars ‘had produced a singular high-quality design solution from a difficult brief and a complex site [with] the overall permeability of the scheme conveying a lightness of touch for a building of substantial scale’. 

He wrote: ‘The form of the proposed stadium has been influenced by its immediate surroundings, and builds upon the historic context of previous stadia on the site.

’The resulting design is a high quality piece of design and a unique architectural solution. It would have the landmark qualities of a significant sporting venue with a clear identity, and would declutter and unify the site.’

The report also noted the use of brick as the main cladding material ‘as a means of placing the new design as the backdrop into an area which is predominantly characterised by brick’.

Herzog & de Meuron's designs for Chelsea FC

Herzog & de Meuron’s designs for Chelsea FC

While noting that the proposals would cause substantial harm to the Billings and Brompton Cutting conservation area, the planning officers said this was outweighed by the substantial public benefits brought by the scheme. 

Herzog & de Meuron partner Jacques Herzog had previously said: ‘Pierre [de Meuron] and I have always admired traditional English stadiums because of their specific atmosphere and history. Stamford Bridge has a rich history and is located at the core of a vibrant neighbourhood. Unlike an isolated stadium, it is part of the day-to-day life of the local community.’

Approximately 60,000m² of facilities for fans will be contained within two continuous ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ rings of interior concourse facilities. The stadum will also include a club shop, museum and a restaurant.

The proposal will go to committee next Wednesday (11 January) and, if approved, is expected to be completed by 2021.

Herzog & de Meuron has designed a number of high-profile stadiums, including St Jakob Park in Basel, Switzerland; the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany; Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux in Bordeaux, France; and the National Stadium in Beijing, China, for the 2008 Olympic Games. 

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