Stadium changes are coming for a number of English Premier League teams. Tim Newcomb on the major alterations in the pipeline for some of the league's more famous venues.
From retractable pitches designed to woo the NFL to Tottenham’s White Hart Lane successor to old-world charm anticipated for the redevelopment of Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge to reusing London’s Olympic Stadium for West Ham United, changes coming to English Premier League stadiums offer major transformations. But there are also a few less grandiose alterations on the horizon in the EPL as well as the 2015-16 season gets set to begin.
Here are some of the more significant plans, both in and outside of London:
A substantial capacity increase comes with plenty of planned amenities for the “Northumberland Development Project,” the effort to create a 61,000-seat stadium for Tottenham.
While bumping the White Hart Lane capacity an additional 25,000 seats from the current 36,000, the club also plans one of the largest single-tier end stand in the UK, with a 17,000-capacity stand playing as a tribute to traditional English football grounds.
“The seating bowl is designed to create an intimate relationship between player and spectator,” says Christopher Lee, senior principal with architectural firm Populous. “It will be like no other.”
But the new stadium won’t be just for soccer, as Tottenham recently announced a 10-year agreement to host NFL games in the new venue, planned to open in summer 2018.
To accommodate the heavy traffic, Populous has started designing a retractable pitch, allowing the natural turf to “move” and reveal an artificial surface for American football and other moneymaking events.
The new-look venue also comes with a modern exterior skin, improved sight lines, a new terrace on High Road, a museum, surrounding area upgrades, a hotel, new homes, a health center and a “Sky Walk,” designed for fans to walk on the top of the stadium while taking in views across London.
In stark contrast to recent stadium trends, Chelsea plans to reach deep into London’s history by remodeling Stamford Bridge in a gothic style full of brick and stone.
The three-year project to expand the venue from 42,000 seats to 60,000 includes a three-tiered stack of terraces inspired by Westminster Abbey.
While scarce on details and renderings, the revamped Stamford Bridge would offer an elevated brick bridge to link the stadium with Fulham Road with a type of market housed below the hefty structure.
Architect Jacques Herzog told The Guardian that the stadium, designed by Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, would offer sensation of “a castle, or a medieval walled village.”
All the concrete and brick columns that make up the façade will create space within the walls, all while staircases and old-world materials rise into the roof structure.
“It is beyond beauty or ugliness,” Herzog told The Guardian. “It’s about creating something unique.”
Such a project could displace Chelsea for three full seasons with the potential of the new Stamford Bridge opening in 2020.
Don’t mind the magnificence of the cost overruns—West Ham doesn’t worry, as it doesn’t foot the bill—or the delay, but the Hammers will move into a renovated Olympic Stadium in London’s East End in summer 2016.
With original plans to retool the stadium to a 25,000-seat multi-purpose athletic venue after the Olympics, West Ham won the rights to the venue, requiring a new engineering model to bring the stadium up to 54,000 seats.
With much of the stadium viewed as temporary when designed, redeveloping the home of the 2012 Olympics has proven more challenging from an engineering standpoint than expected. In the end, the £702 million renovation will include building the world’s largest cantilevered roof on a stadium not intended to hold such weight.
West Ham has sold Boleyn Ground, its home since 1904, and the new owners have plans to build housing on the site.
Expect 7,000 new seats at Etihad Stadium for the start of this season.
Manchester City added 6,000 seats to the South Stand and another 1,000 seats pitch side, pushing capacity to over 55,000 seats when the club hosts Chelsea on Aug. 16.
Plans still call for the North Stand to gain an additional 6,000 seats to push capacity to over 61,000, but that phase doesn’t have a defined timeline. At 55,000 seats, Etihad Stadium trails only Arsenal and Manchester United in terms of EPL stadium size.
Anfield is under construction. An expansion to the Main Stand will give that section about 20,000 seats as the stadium jumps from a current capacity of about 45,500 to 54,000 by the start of the 2016-17 season.
The new roof trusses for the Main Stand have started arriving and work since the end of last season has Anfield on pace to create the largest all-seater single stand in Europe within the next year.
The plan to move from Goodison Park, Everton’s home since 1892, and replace the 41,000-seat venue with a new 50,000-capacity stadium at Walton Hall Park got a boost of support in September 2014, but there’s no concrete plans or timetables on a project that could still easily stall.