New design: Craven Cottage that never will be…

source: StadiumDB.com

New design: Craven Cottage that never will be… … and we regret this a whole lot! A unique vision of redeveloped Fulham stadium was created by Mariusz Sępek. The Polish author presented a bold approach at connecting heritage with the future.

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It’s been roughly 30 months since we saw the Riverside Stand’s official redevelopment design and the old stand is still there, nothing changed. Meanwhile Fulham FC changed its owner, Craven Cottage is rid of the Michael Jackson statue, but otherwise – the stadium is as it was.

This is, among other factors, the outcome of its difficult heritage. The stadium may be considered ‘a slave’ of its history. From the west it’s limited by the river Thames. From the east – by Archibald Leitch’s impressive façade. And even more, if not most, it’s also limited in traffic capacity, constantly remaining among the smallest Premier League stadiums.

This is where, at least partly, the concept by Mariusz Sępek comes in. The Polish designer analysed local conditions with their complexity. Then he approached the stadium, trying to increase its capacity with respect to the existing boundaries.

Craven Cottage by Mariusz Sępek

First, though not easiest, he created a bowl that incorporates the eastern Leitch façade into the overall design, thus connecting over a century of football traditions with modern day requirements. It may not be seamless inclusion, but whether that needs to be a bad thing depends on individual judgment.

Overall, each stand would need to be rebuilt along this vision, but the east would see smallest changes not to interfere with historical architecture. Also, the Cottage Pavillion would be preserved and used as club museum site, even if less visible behind the new façade and under a new, larger roof.

Craven Cottage by Mariusz Sępek

The stands would see a continuous lower level enclosing the pitch and an upper tier growing in the west and descending to the east. The two would be divided with some 80 skyboxes. Altogether the revamped layout would offer 39,000 seats or 42,000 with terracing, should that be allowed in the Premier League.

Of course the increased capacity caters more for actual ticket demand, but isn’t helpful in handling traffic, but Sępek remains enthusiastic towards the idea of building a new pedestrian bridge over Thames to ease the matchday peak.

Craven Cottage by Mariusz Sępek

To retain the coziness and traditional charm, the stadium would receive a very unusual exterior. The roof would be both shaped and covered in ways that should resemble the current shape. Though larger than before, the east side would thus see arguably little change, keeping the 1905 form.

Remaining three sides would be covered by four rings of external cladding, partly overlapping one-another. What is new compared to most stadiums and might add some charm to this design, is the use of laminate timber panels as the cladding materials. These aren’t commonly used with sports infrastructure, though present decent durability.

This design isn’t official at all, it also doesn’t address the concerns of local community with traffic. But we consider it a worthy addition to StadiumDB. We’d also like to hear your views at our facebook page!

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