Monday, November 18, 2019

WhatsApp messages at 2am & sliding drawers: The inspiration behind Tottenham´s new stadium

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 3 Apr 2019

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The architect for Tottenham’s stadium may finally be able to get some sleep once the Premier League club have staged their first competitive fixture in their new home.

Spurs host Crystal Palace on Wednesday in their state-of-the-art 62,000-seater ground, which is an arena Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has called “the best in the world”.

Christopher Lee, an architect from Populous, first became involved in the project in 2012 and was armed with a desire for the stadium to avoid the soulless stereotypes surrounding many other new grounds – a vision also held by Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.

“We shared a lot of similar aspirations for how stadiums should be – urban regenerations, democratic buildings,” Lee told Omnisport.

“English football has treated fans very badly in many ways – the corporate sandwich-brigade being in the seats between the real fans was something neither of us like at all.

“We really wanted to create a stadium that was democratic, with everyone having a phenomenal experience.”

One of the most notable features of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is a 17,500-seat single-tier stand that will aim to recreate the atmosphere of the ‘Yellow Wall’ at Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park.

It also has its own microbrewery, machines that fill pints of beer from the bottom up and a skywalk up to 40 metres high offering views of the capital.

Though perhaps the biggest quirk is a dividing, retractable pitch that can make way for a synthetic field when hosting NFL matches, with the stadium due to stage a minimum of two American football games per season for 10 years.

“We had this ‘aha moment’ when looking at drawers slide,” Lee explained.

“We have astro turf, a metre and a half lower, then no one messes with the grass for EPL games. That was a really simple moment.

“It was a brilliant challenge. As an architect, you couldn’t want a better client than to say, ‘Let’s try this’.

“Getting all of the [NFL specifics] was challenging but I think we’ve created the first bespoke NFL stadium outside of the US.”

Tottenham had hoped to be playing home games at their new stadium at the start of this campaign but have been forced to wait due to issues with critical safety systems.

Levy’s dream will finally become a reality on Wednesday though, with Lee admitting the Spurs chairman was utterly dedicated to his team’s project.

“Daniel and the club have always been ones to push,” he explained.

“He’s definitely the most demanding client I’ve ever worked for. But as an architect and designer, he’s been a brilliant client.

“He’s 100 per cent in the details, seven days a week, [sending] 2am WhatsApp messages.

“It’s really satisfying to have someone so engaged in the process – the most demanding but the most satisfying client.”

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