Marylebone Cricket Club opens Arup-engineered Warner Stand


Arup has collaborated with architects Populous and BAM to redevelop the Warner Stand at Lord’s Cricket Ground, delivering innovative engineering solutions. Working with client, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), the team has also created a world-class hospitality venue contributing to the stand’s new unique identity. 

The previous Warner Stand suffered from poor viewing angles due to shallow inclinations and the subsequent construction of the Grand Stand on the north boundary. Arup worked with Populous to design a new stand to address these issues; whilst respecting the architectural heritage and character of the existing buildings, including the Grade II* Listed Pavilion. The new stand now provides an exceptional match day experience as well as outstanding catering and entertaining facilities which will be in use throughout the year.

To meet the complex challenge, Arup and Populous optimized the geometry of each seating tier to maximize the viewing experience. The resulting mix of geometries between the upper and lower tiers generated a misaligned structure which is normally resolved via expensive transfer systems. The new stand avoided this through the careful integration of space and structure. The finished stand is a triumph of design where the outcome is an absence of structure.

The Warner Stand is much more than a spectator facility. A large restaurant space on the top floor provides exceptional views of the ground, together with bars on the lower tiers that have been designed to operate all year round. The outcome is an area that connects patrons to events on the field, while creating discrete spaces for socializing on match and non-match days alike. Populous achieved this by integrating large sash windows into the design, which are counterweighted and operated by hand, providing guests a direct connection with the rest of the ground. 

In order for the restaurant to be used all year round, roofing materials needed to have good insulating properties, while allowing natural daylight into the space below. Externally the roof provides an elegant, ethereal feel as it is lightweight and translucent. This aesthetic has been achieved by use of Tensotherm, which sandwiches aerogel within two layers of PTFE Fabric, achieving the required insulation in a layer just centimeters thick.

The Tensotherm is directly supported by an array of tubular steelwork which provides the fabric with its necessary curvature. This steelwork is itself supported on glulam American White Oak timbers, which have been chosen to help provide an identity to the stand while also elegantly resolving the inherent issues with external and internal structure.

Arup chose American White Oak due to its superior strength and stiffness properties which enabled a significant reduction in beam size when compared with conventional softwood species. It is the first use of oak beams of this scale in Europe, and required extensive testing to demonstrate the necessary strength and durability characteristics were being met.

The new Match Control Suite meets the diverse and exacting requirements of the official functions, in order to manage the ground safely and effectively. Arup, together with Populous, worked to resolve complex coordination challenges in the Match Control Suite imposed by the constrained geometry of tiers.

The Building Services solution for the Warner Stand aligns with MCC’s ambitious sustainability objectives. No fossil fuels are used, instead an innovative all-electric solution achieves significant energy savings across all systems, including heating, cooling and cooking. At the heart of the building sits an open loop heat pump system linked to two boreholes that drop deep into the aquifer. The system has no roof or ground mounted equipment. This enhances the architectural solution and creates space for other functions.

Further energy improvements are achieved with solar energy technologies integrated within the biodiverse roof system. Michael Trousdell, lead building services engineer for Arup added, “The Warner Stand project created an exciting opportunity for the Arup Building Services team to deliver an innovative sustainable design. The zero fossil fuels solution sets the trend for future buildings of any type. We are especially excited about the combined heating and cooling system and the energy saving this technology can deliver”.

Arup’s work on the Warner Stand continues its ongoing partnership with MCC to deliver signature buildings at Lord’s. Arup has also provided the engineering designs for the Grand Stand, Mound Stand, and the Stirling Prize-winning Media Centre. This expertise builds on the consultancy’s portfolio of sporting projects, which includes the London Aquatics Centre and the Singapore Sports Hub.

Arup also provided services on the following disciplines: fire engineering; pedestrian modeling; and acoustics and biodiversity.

Will Whitby, lead structural engineer at Arup, said, “Our work on the Warner Stand at Lord’s Cricket Ground brings this historic sporting institution into the 21st century, while retaining the club’s heritage look and feel. The improved sightlines and upgraded hospitality features, combined with behind-the-scenes improvements to match day facilities, have enhanced this famous establishment, ensuring the viewer experience now matches its reputation for world-class cricket.”

MCC’s assistant secretary (estates), Robert Ebdon, said, “MCC created a tough brief, requiring a structure which delivered exceptional facilities for spectators, a unique experience for meetings and events, and provided an outstanding working environment, while meeting sustainability and accessibility targets. The expertise and knowledge brought by Arup ensured that these objectives were met and delivered a truly world-class building.”

Mike Donegan, construction director for BAM added, “Creating the new Warner Stand has been a very challenging pleasure for BAM. Alongside its engineering and design complexities, it has numerous logistical challenges too. Working around a client like the MCC has also been an important factor. A colossal amount of work and care has gone into the construction. There is no doubt that the team here has produced something very special for the members that will use the stand, and for the back of house teams that will benefit from fabulous new facilities.”

“This is a very special moment for everyone at Populous, and a privilege for the practice to add to the wonderful heritage of the ‘Home of Cricket’,” added Philip Johnson, Populous senior principal and project lead. “The new Warner Stand has been designed to complement the existing campus of buildings at Lord’s, providing excellent views of the action, world-class match control facilities, a number of bars, and a new restaurant with fantastic views overlooking the ground. Lord’s has a special place in the hearts of cricketers and fans, and this new stand will help cement its position as the finest cricket ground in the world.”

May 3, 2017

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