Lord’s Masterplan: How the Home of Cricket uses Mass Timber

Iconic cricket ground embraces mass timber in what could be a game-changer for stadium design

Tue 28 Mar 23


Lord’s is probably the most famous sporting venue on earth. Synonymous with the game of cricket, the ground dates back to 1814 and is controlled by the Marylebone Cricket Club (the MCC) founded in 1787.

For more than a century MCC members have occupied the wooden benches in the Victorian pavilion – with the pavilion one of six grandstands that occupy the Grounds.

Lord’s is not a traditional stadium, in the sense that the grandstands have their own separate identities – and contribute to the unique character of the Ground.

Introducing the Lord’s Masterplan

In 2013, the MCC released the Lord’s Masterplan – which prioritised the redevelopment of three major grandstands; the Warner Stand (stage 1) and the Compton and Edrich Stands (stage 2).

The MCC provided members and stakeholders with regular Masterplan updates. Footage courtesy of @lordscricketground

Following an extensive period of study, Mass Timber was selected as a preferred building material in the three grandstands – underpinned by Lord’s commitment to low embodied carbon building materials.

With the addition of solar panels, the grandstands not only utilised low carbon building materials in its construction but reduce emissions during operation.

In fact, the stadium operates off 100% wind-generated electricity.

A major consideration was the activation of key precincts around the Grounds – including the Village Green at the Nursery End and the Coronation Gardens at the Members End.

The Lord’s Site Plan – provided by Populous who were responsible for the original Lord’s Masterplan. (Drawings provided by Populous).

In addition, the masterplan sort to improve sightlines; enhancing the spectator experience; and creating a more inclusive space to broaden cricket’s appeal.

Stage 1: The Warner Stand (2016)

The Warner Stand is located in the western corner of Lord’s Cricket Ground – next to the pavilion – and has a capacity of 2,668.

Designed by Populous, the stand features a wing-like roof, formed using white oak glulam beams and profiled steel, with a high-tech translucent fabric canopy that shades spectator but also allows through some natural light.

Each beam is carefully lifted into position for the construction. (Photo credit: Jon Cardwell)

Manufactured by Hess Timber, and certified to both FSC and PEFC standards, the stand used 50sqm of Glue Laminated Timber made of American White Oak (supplied by Robinson Lumber Company), with beam lengths of up to 25m and cantilever beams up to 12.2m.

Locating and securing the cantilevered glulam beams – at that time the longest ever created using American white oak – was no easy task.

American white oak glue laminated beams radiate dramatically from the corner of the ground. (Photo credit: Jon Cardwell)

And according to the American Hardwood Export Council:

“In total, 100 m3 of Number 1 Common grade American white oak was used to create the 11 beams for the stand. The AHEC Grown in Seconds sustainability calculator shows that the volume of timber used for the beams would take just 160 seconds to regrow in the forest.”

Stage 2: The Compton and Edrich Stands (2021)

The stands sit either side of the J.P Morgan Media Centre at the Nursery End of the ground; directly opposite the pavilion’s wooden benches.

The Compton and Edrich Stands – with the J.P Morgan Media Centre (1999 RIBA Stirling architecture prize winner) sandwiched between the two grandstands. (Photo credit: Hufton + Crow)

The stands are unique in the sense that they cater almost exclusively for the general public (and not the MCC members) with the stands opening out to the Village Green behind the Ground.

Designed by WilkinsonEyre; both with a combined capacity of 11,600, more than half the seats have been reused to reduce landfill.

The grandstands feature canopy roofs, and at 24m high, tower above all other grandstands. They both provide unrivalled views of the field of play and panoramic views beyond the ground across London.

Constructional Timber’s PEFC-certified Glue Laminated Timber (GLT) was used in both grandstands. (Photo credit: Hufton + Crow)

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

Manufactured by Constructional Timber, the shell was assembled using PEFC-certified Glue Laminated Timber.

In summary, the Lord’s Masterplan showcases the potential of timber in large stadium construction. An early adopter, Mass Timber is increasingly being recognised as a game-changer for stadiums across the world.


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