Architect Dan Meis admitted it was emotional to set foot on Bramley-Moore Dock for the first time since construction began.
Everton’s LA-based stadium guardian flew in for meetings with Club officials this week as part of his ongoing role in the ambitious project.
And after visiting the site of Everton’s iconic waterfront build, he confessed to being taken aback by the progress made since his last trip to Merseyside, late last year.
“It’s so incredibly exciting and very emotional. It’s like being a kid in a toy store and it never gets old,” beamed Meis.
“It seems a little absurd that it all starts with a little sketch and then hundreds and ultimately thousands of people come together.
“It’s a giant team of engineers and architects and contractors and a lot of people have put their heart and soul into this stadium, and that’s really touching and just phenomenal.”
Meis was given a tour of the site by director of stadium development Colin Chong and Laing O’Rourke project director Gareth Jacques, where he saw, first hand, the growing outline of the new stadium.
A second tier of the concrete structure is now emerging on the two northern corners, with the first above-ground, precast sections of the super structure set to be installed shortly on the two southern edges.
That will soon offer a tantalising glimpse of the overall scale of the stadium within the infilled dock.
Meis added: “This is one of the things I think everybody who has followed the site will be shocked by.
“There was a time when we weren’t really sure that the pitch would fit in the dock itself, but when you see it now, with the dock filled in and the machinery spread out, it’s a massive site, so you really do start to get a sense, particularly with some of the pieces going up, of just how vast the site is and how big the stadium is going to be.
“It’s an astonishing feat to get the dock looking like this and one of the sad parts is that so much of the complexity of construction gets lost.
“People show up one day and it’s here, but when you see the technology, effort and coordination that goes into something this complex, it’s fascinating.
“We’re at the exciting stage now and it will seem like it’s all happening very fast now, as pieces start going into place above ground, and in early summer we’re going to see steelwork, which will also go very quickly.
“It still doesn’t look like a stadium, but it will feel that way very quickly.”
Meis, whose initial role in the stadium project came to a natural end in the summer of 2020 as the scheme moved from the concept to technical phases, spent Thursday being updated at the Club’s headquarters, in the Royal Liver Building.
The new guardianship role, which he took up last October, involves reviewing the technical construction specifications and engaging the compliance team ahead of each stage of development to ensure the original design concept remains in place throughout the build.
Meis explained: “I’m working closely with the club to keep an eye on how things are going, and making sure that the original design is being built.
“That’s one of the things we’re very excited about. Although it has been a very complex process in filling in a dock; something that hasn’t been done quite like this before, the design is intact and it’s going to be very exciting to see it’s exactly what we saw in those early renderings.”
(Mobile users will need to swipe left and right to browse the gallery above)
The full scale of Bramley-Moore Dock will soon be visible as the four corners of Everton’s new home emerge from the ground.
The foundations of the southern corners of the stadium are now ready for the initial pre-cast concrete structures to be slotted in, following ongoing construction work that has already seen the northern corners reach a second tier.
And as our gallery, above, shows the stadium is slowly talking shape on the waterfront site.
Laing O’Rourke project director, Gareth Jacques, confirmed: “We are on schedule, which we are very pleased about.
“It’s looking really good and you can start to see the perspective, with the four structural cores starting to come out of the ground.
“That gives you a good feel for where each of the four stands will be – and the size!
“It’s no longer a dock – it’s a building site and looks completely different. If you consider that when we started pumping in the sand from the Irish Sea and the bulldozers moving it around in the dock, now we have piling rigs and permanent foundations, the whole thing has really moved on.”
Gareth added: “The construction phase has been simplified by using a lot of our offsite modular components.
“A lot of the concrete columns and walls you see have already been manufactured in our precast factory, so we are minimising the amount of ‘wet work’ on site and getting a factory-quality finish.
“That also helps in minimising the lifting involved.
“I’m always excited by every project we do, but particularly this one because the people here; the client, the fans and everyone interested in the project is so passionate and enthusiastic.”