Project in Detail
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Maber Architects, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Martine Hamilton Knight - MHK Photography
WORLD ARCHITECTURE FESTIVAL
NEW STAND AND GROUND IMPROVEMENTS
AT TRENT BRIDGE CRICKET GROUND
BY MABER ARCHITECTS
Trent Bridge, home of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, is one of the oldest and most famous cricket grounds in the world. County matches have been played here since 1840, and test matches since 1899, when Trent Bridge hosted the England v Australia Test, a match that also marked W.G. Grace's final appearance for England. Since then 53 Test matches, and 28 one day internationals, have been played at Trent Bridge.
The success of Trent Bridge not only brings international recognition and economic benefits to the region, but also social benefits, through the Club’s sports academy and cricket in the community programmes. History alone is no guarantee of Trent Bridge's status as a Test match venue, and competition to host international matches is fierce. It was against this background that Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, with financial support from EMDA, Rushcliffe Borough Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council, undertook a major programme of improvements over the 2007/8 close season that would give the Club a competitive edge in attracting international cricket matches and major domestic competitions to Trent Bridge.
A new stand has been built along the Bridgford Road boundary with capacity for 3469 spectators, including 32 wheelchair spaces. At ground level, a broad concourse has replaced the narrow walkways. New public facilities, including toilets, first aid room, a vending area and car parking are provided under the stand.
Most of the existing stands have been extended so that the Ground can now accommodate 17,000 spectators.
A new three-storey office building overlooks the pitch and provides accommodation for executive and administrative staff, match officials and match control personnel.
An electronic replay screen has been integrated into the office structure, the largest screen at any British cricket venue.
Six floodlights, designed to meet international standards for day/night matches, have been erected around the Ground. The design ensures that light levels are very high at the wicket (batsmen need to see a ball travelling at almost 100mph) while light spill beyond the pitch is kept to a minimum.
Less obvious, but essential for the success of the project, has been a major investment in the electrical infrastructure at the Ground to power and control the new facilities.
Trent Bridge has sought to develop its capacity and facilities whilst maintaining its reputation as one of the most attractive and friendly venues for international cricket anywhere in the World. A key element in fulfilling this objective is the long-standing relationship between Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and designers Maber Architects (this is the sixth project they have undertaken together). Working from a master plan drawn up by Maber, the capacity of Trent Bridge has increased by more than 50%over the last 16 years, yet it still retains the character and appearance of an English cricket ground.
The Maber strategy has been to design each new stand as part of a family. Like a family, each member has an individual character, yet their common bonds are unmistakable. Thus the new buildings, whether they are traditional pavilions or modern steel structures share many of the same colours, materials and design details, so that they convey a sense of belonging together.
The new stand is a single tier structure with a curved canopy that incorporates ten triangular skylights that not only allow light on to the pitch, but also create an eye-catching backdrop to the Bridgford Road boundary. The combination of white seats and cladding materials, traditional cross-bar balustrades, and cream brickwork maintains the theme established elsewhere around the Ground. From the outside, the street scene is dominated by a white colonnade and the patented copper colour of the canopy, which takes its inspiration from the roof of County Hall nearby.. The old Bulwell stone boundary wall has given way to railings and stone piers, bringing light into the concourse and enabling passers-by to see activity inside the Ground.
At most sports grounds, replay screens are either treated as stand-alone structures, or added on to existing buildings. At Trent Bridge, however, the screen has been integrated into the office structure, flanked by white fin walls that also support the cantilevered curved glass wall of the Match Control Room. It is a functional and elegant composition that really comes alive when the replay screen is in action.
Perhaps the most eye-catching feature of the whole development is the cluster of six floodlights. Each floodlight is 40 metres high with slim steel columns supporting circular mastheads, likened by Mike Atherton to circling “like moons in a planetary system”.
Underlying the visual drama of the new development is a sound understanding of the technical and legal requirements that govern international sports venues. The design has taken into account not only the ECB’s standards for Category A venues, but also its emerging policies on floodlights and replay screens. Public safety is paramount, and the works have been designed to comply with national standards for safety at sports grounds. Access and facilities for the disabled have improved significantly. The development was completed in time for the England v. New Zealand Test in June 2008.
There can be little doubt that the development has given Trent Bridge a competitive advantage that helped to secure its selection as a venue for the Twenty20 World Cup in 2009, when it is estimated that half a billion TV viewers around the World will watch the semi-final at Trent Bridge.