Stadium architect Dan Meis made a return to Merseyside this month as he begins his Guardianship role at the Club.
Writing in a blog for supporters, the American discusses the new stadium build at Bramley-Moore Dock, the importance of fan engagement and the pressure involved in providing a worthy replacement for the historic Goodison Park…
It was so good to be back in England. Being in the UK always gives me a different perspective as an architect, seeing the old alongside the new.
The Board and Chairman invited me to attend the Spurs game and it had a been a while since I had been in any stadium, never mind a Premier League stadium, which I know is ironic for someone who is known for designing them for a living.
Being at Goodison Park is always a wonderful occasion and although the stadium, sights and sounds don’t change that much, my return reminded me how much I missed the character at this historic old building.
The atmosphere and feel inside Goodison is quite something and the job we all have – you and us – is not only replicating that in a new, bigger stadium, but creating something that will become unique to Bramley-Moore Dock.
While Goodison is a very special place, let’s not forget that Bramley-Moore Dock is a very special site in a very special city for a very special club.
Those things all coming together is the magic and it’s going to be unique; not just another stadium.
From a personal point of view, it feels great to be involved in the project again.
I’d like to thank the Chairman Bill Kenwright and Colin Chong for the opportunity and I look forward to working with the wider team again.
My role will be focused on ensuring we maintain the best elements of the original design concept, keeping an eye on how things are developing with the construction and the execution of the building.
I’ll be reviewing the technical construction specifications, engaging the compliance team ahead of key stages of development and working alongside the Club’s Communications and Fan Engagement departments to continue to understand what Evertonians want to see from their new stadium.
Every major project needs a guardian to ensure the client, in this case Everton, are comfortable with the fact that what they are investing in is really what they saw in the renderings and early designs.
To have the honour of delivering the vision of the Chairman, the Board and the fans is something I won’t be taking lightly.
There’s a real buzz about what is developing at Bramley-Moore Dock and that’s a great credit to everyone in the process; from the Chairman seeing a vision early on in a sketch and model, to all of the people who have been involved in helping get us to this point.
The investment the Club has made is amazing, along with their faith in the process.
One of the first things I did when I landed in Liverpool last Sunday was to go to Bramley-Moore Dock and see the construction site.
I had been following it from afar but when you see what has happened with the warehouse buildings having been removed, the infill process well underway and the piling for foundations starting, it brings home how real it all is.
What is taking place at Bramley-Moore Dock really is a feat of engineering.
The timelapse produced by the Club should give you a real feel of the progress that has been made to date.
Once the steel structure starts going up and people start to see the rake of the seats, or the truss of a roof, then I’m sure they will then begin imagining what the end product is going to look like.
At that point you can picture the stadium filled with fans and all the noise that comes with it.
As an architect, you do feel a certain amount of pressure when you are replacing a stadium that carries a prestigious history and something that has been the fabric of generations of Evertonians’ lives.
The inclusive design process the Club undertook and the consultation and surveys you’ve responded to has hopefully made you feel a sense of ownership over that building.
It is that ownership that will help make Everton’s shiny new waterfront stadium work, not the number or colour of seats or the height or size of the stadium.
We have to capture the magic of Goodison and bring that with us through you, as the fans, and that goes way beyond the actual building.
It’s every little thing that goes into the conception of the building and the programming of it and how people experience it, in and out of the stadium.
That’s been important to me from the very beginning and I think that’s what will make this project successful.
In that respect, fan engagement has been a massive part of the process and I’d like to thank the supporters for all their feedback and comments.
That’s so important; more so than any other project I’ve ever been on, largely because the fans here care so much about the Club.
They care so much about Goodison and don’t want to give it up for something that’s not going to be that much more incredible.
So, that process has been so important to me and I know that working alongside the Club we have plans to continue engagement through a number surveys and focus groups in the coming months and years.
Moving forward, you’ll be hearing from me in blog posts and updates on some of the work I’m doing in the coming months but in the meantime, I’ve enjoyed meeting old friends and making new ones on Merseyside as I start my new role on this once-in-lifetime project for Everton.