The Brit Oval Cricket Ground in Kennington, South London is the home of Surrey Country Cricket Club. The Ground was originally established in 1845 and forms an essential part of the cultural and historic fabric of the Borough of Lambeth.
The Club has occupied the Ground since its establishment in 1845. The first ever test match was played at the Ground in 1880, and except for during the World Wars, has continued every season since.
To ensure the continued success as a sporting venue, the long term financial sustainability of the ground and enhance the Club’s commitment to the local community through sports education, the Club needed to ensure that the capacity and quality of the facilities on offer met the requirements of the ECB and the demands of the modern game. Therefore in 2001 the Club undertook a review of the facilities at The Oval.
The Miller Partnership and their design team were appointed by the Club during 2003 to develop the design of the Vauxhall End of the Oval Cricket Ground.
The Project, based on a concept by HOK SVE, consisted of the demolition of the existing temporary and permanent stands, hospitality facilities and other buildings/enclosures at the Vauxhall End of the ground, and replacement with a modern Stand over 4 levels and a main curved roof and a landscaped living screen running around the public facade of the Stand.
The Stand contains spectator seating, hospitality and conferencing space with associated services including bars, offices, kitchens, media centre, education centre and shared community floor space, resulting in an increase in capacity from 18,500 to 23,000.
The living screen is located between the new stand and the boundary of the ground, forming the public facade of the building. It is 200 metre long and rises from 15 metres at the ends to 20 metres height at the centre.
The main support structure is curved galvanised steel tusks clad in timber with stainless steel trellis spanning between the tusks to support the establishment of permanent planting display.
Sailcloth is fixed to the rear of the structure to provide wind protection to the plants. Plants are located at ground level and within aerial planter troughs supported from the main steel structure of the screen. A fully automatic irrigation system delivers water to all planting locations.
The form of the screen responds to the cascading geometry of the stand and configuration of the site boundary wall. The screen creates a continuous and extensive green backdrop to the new stand, providing pleasant views from neighbouring residential properties. It forms a visual barrier between local residents and spectators.
The screen is intended to present a changing seasonal display of plants throughout the year bringing the changing colours and moods of the season to both spectators and surrounding residents. It is intended to compliment the summer nature of cricket and publicly reflect the open space and rural heritage of the game. The screen acts as a sound diffuser for traffic noise from neighbouring streets and deal with air pollution from this traffic.
The Project was programmed into two construction phases. Phase 1 consisted of: demolition of the existing stands, installing piles, concrete sub structure, erecting steelwork frame and erecting lower precast concrete seating decks. This phase was completed on time to allow a temporary handover for a limited season of International cricket matches during the summer of 2004.
Phase 2 consisted of: completing the superstructure, M&E services, fitting out and external works including the living screen.
The project was handed over during June 2005. Having hosted the first test match between England and Australia on 6th September 1880, the Club hosted the fifth and victorious Ashes test match between England and Australia during September 2005.
Images © Miller Partnership & Surrey County Cricket Club
View more examples of galvanized steel