WilkinsonEyre has completed the redevelopment of the Compton and Edrich stands at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, delivering two new distinctive architectural structures at the world-renowned cricket venue.

The new stands form an integral part of the owners of Lord’s, Marylebone Cricket Club’s (MCC), plans to futureproof the Ground. 

The stands, designed with structural engineers Buro Happold, deliver greatly improved sightlines and an enhanced spectator experience for cricket fans, as well as upgrading capacity, accessibility and amenities at the country’s premier cricket venue, known as the Home of Cricket.

The new Compton and Edrich stands, constructed by contractor ISG, sit either side of the iconic J.P. Morgan Media Centre at the famous Nursery end of the Ground. 

They feature a canopy roof, integrated facilities, and an elevated walkway facing the Nursery Ground that connects the two new stands and link into the Mound and Grand stands. 

At 24m high, they are now the tallest stands at the venue allowing unrivalled views of the field of play, featuring three tiers that elevate the spectator experience.

The stands provide an additional 2,600 seats, increasing the Ground’s overall capacity to 31,180. 

Half of the 11,600 seats fitted have been re-used from the previous stands to mitigate waste. The stands also have wheelchair accessible positions, facilities, and lift access at all levels. Additionally, for the first time, they also house two pitch-facing restaurants, two hospitality suites, 12 additional food and drink outlets and integrated washroom facilities.

Image copyright Buro Happold

Architectural context

The design concept of the stands is in keeping with both the historic and contemporary architectural context of the venue. 

The stands form part of an overall composition that includes the iconic Grade II*-listed Pavilion, the J.P. Morgan Media Centre, the Grand, Mound, and Warner stands, with each stand presenting a clear expression of the engineering principles behind it.

The steel mainframe of the new stands features large identifiable columns and double-height colonnades, which references the rhythms of the original brick arches of the adjacent Mound Stand arcade, while the roof canopies complement the subtle curvature and form of the design while creating a distinctive silhouette.

The canopy is made up of a combination of white-painted radiating steel ribs, a visible timber supporting shell on the underside and a white fabric skin. 

Its design provides a subtle contrast to the futuristic, aluminium J.P. Morgan Media Centre, while corresponding to the tent-like forms of the Mound Stand’s fabric roof, alluding to a sporting typology. 

The original white and grey seating is set in light grey concrete terracing, divided by glazed bands which mark out the premier seating and restaurants and the J.P. Morgan hospitality suites, echoing the Grand Stand and Mound Stand elevation.

Both stands are designed to be open and spacious, with clear open stairs, access walkways and wayfinding, improving accessibility and crowd circulation. 

A bridge connects the two main hospitality lounges, linking the stands for the first time, while introducing impressive dual aspect views of the pitch and Nursery Ground. A permeable two-storey arcade opens up the stands’ outward facing elevations. Together the stands improve the east facing frontage of the Ground and present a new identity from the North and East Gate entrances.

Image copyright Jason Hawkes

Guy Lavender, MCC chief executive & secretary, said: 

We have received some wonderful comments about the new stands and seeing them filled with cricket supporters on match days was a very pleasing scene. With increased capacity and accessibility, and excellent facilities spectators sitting in these stands are treated to an unforgettable experience at Lord’s. The stands are a great achievement and an important part in future-proofing the Ground and it is with thanks to the MCC Committee and project team who have seen the project through to its completion.

Sam Wright, Director at WilkinsonEyre, said: 

We wanted to create a heightened sense of sporting theatre for the new Compton & Edrich stands. Allowing many more fans to share the match action, they have already become an instantly recognisable backdrop around the globe following the dramatic India Test and the hugely successful inaugural The Hundred finals. Rapid adoption by this famous Club’s Ground’s loyal Members and Ground visitors is testament to the strength of the concept.

Jim Eyre, director at WilkinsonEyre, added: 

This has been a wonderful project to which we have been able to bring our skills and experience to bear in designing great new facilities for enjoying cricket in this iconic setting.

Steve Macey, project director at Buro Happold, said: 

We wanted to ensure that Lord’s remains the best place in the world to watch and play cricket. The distinguished Ground is loved by fans around the world, so the design of the new Compton and Edrich stands needed to recognise that and, quite simply, be exceptional. 

The new designs convey the character and quality expected of a world-class sporting venue, that will now significantly enhance the spectator experience and provide exceptional, modern facilities expected by a global fan-base. It’s fantastic to finally see fans returning once again to the Home of Cricket and enjoy the matches from the new stands.

Zoe Price, chief operating officer for ISG’s UK Construction business, said: 

The sensitive redevelopment and extension of the Compton and Edrich stands at the Home of Cricket owes much of its success to an approach rooted in teamwork and collaboration – something countless generations of fans have witnessed on the pitch at Lord’s. 

Enabling the theatre and spectacle of live cricket to be experienced and enjoyed by many more fans is a key legacy of a project that has successfully navigated the complex challenges of building a sympathetic yet forward looking infrastructure improvement within an iconic global sporting venue.

WilkinsonEyre was commissioned by MCC to redesign the existing Compton and Edrich stands following an invited design competition in 2017 to directly replace the previous stands, which had restricted sightlines in the lower tiers and left spectators exposed in the upper tiers. 

In terms of sustainability, as well as incorporating seating retained from the demolished stands, the architects’ design incorporated the concrete structure and terracing of the old stands, crushed and used as the piling mat for the new stands, so that minimal demolition material was removed from the site. The design also expands the ground source heating capacity.

Main image copyright Clare Adams MCC