The architect of Everton FC’s new stadium is determined to capture the magic of Goodison and build a fan-first, football-first home for generations of Evertonians.
Speaking at Everton’s general meeting, Dan Meis revealed he has fallen “in love” with Everton and said the Club’s “vision” and strong identity will allow him to design a stadium at Bramley Moore Dock that will be “a model for football the world over.”
Appearing via video at the club’s general meeting, Meis said his number one priority is maintaining what he described as the magic of Goodison Park, and building a fan-first, football-first home for every Evertonian and for generations of their families.
Meis, whose past designs include LA’s Staples Center and the Paul Brown Stadium, home of NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals said:
It’s an incredibly exciting time for us. I know there’s been a lot of anticipation about seeing the building coming along. We have done some work and I think 2018 is going to be a very exciting year for all of us as the project moves forward.
I think people have heard me say many times that it’s pretty unusual for me to start a project with the kind of vision and brief that the Club provided for us.
That was one of the reasons why I was first excited about the project, then I fell in love with the Club and Goodison, and it’s become a really unusual, very passionate project for me, and I think a career-defining one.
That kind of strong vision about who the Club is, and who the community is, I have no doubt will create a unique building that will be a model for football the world over.
As part of design planning, Meis, whose team have also created a stadium concept for Serie A giants AS Roma, has made numerous trips to the city of Liverpool and to Goodison Park.
And the man charged with inventing a showpiece waterfront venue for the Blues understands that capturing the essence of Everton and its current home is a fundamental part of the project. He added:
I think one of the most unique things about it, about the club, is the notion of the People’s Club. In this case, that is translating into the architecture.
You can’t see a game at Goodison and not understand how powerful the fans are to the outcome of the game and the support of the team. There’s no better home pitch advantage than a building like Goodison, and that fan-first attitude, and football-first attitude, has been at the core of everything we’re doing in looking at the early concept designs.
I’ve been to Liverpool a number of times throughout the project and had the opportunity to meet [Evertonians] face-to-face. Again, there’s been this consistent. It would be easy for people to be sceptical or critical but everyone is excited and everyone has really been supportive in bringing true passion and ideas to it.
That’s what makes this unique – it’s not just a building for a football club, it’s a home for every one of those people and for generations of their families.
You look at Goodison and there are memories in that building that you can’t replace. I think the thing we think about most every day is to not lose that – the magic of Goodison… that history and the magic of the experience that people remember over years is something we want to bring to any new building.
We’ve seen a lot of new buildings become very large, bloated and modern – yes; exciting – yes; spectacular – yes; but losing the intimacy and power of the experience of sitting as close to the pitch and as on top of the players as you can get. That has been the vision for the ultimate building.
We have this incredible site on the river and the opportunity to do something that’s architecturally iconic and bring those two things together.
I think we have the opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done in any of the new buildings in the Premier League, and that’s a really incredible opportunity.
Meanwhile, major shareholder Farhad Moshiri’s investment in Everton FC has allowed the club to “push forward” with the Bramley-Moore Dock stadium project, according to
CEO Robert Elstone.
He explained at the club’s general meeting that funds have been committed to “the land, initial designs and planning preparations”.
However, while encouraged by the progress of the project, Elstone reiterated there is still work to be done in order for the proposals to become a reality. He said:
Much work, time and resource has gone into advancing the stadium project over the past 12 months but there is much still to do.
And if there is one enduring message to take away from tonight, it is that while we are fully committed, and optimistic, there are still hurdles for us to overcome, not least securing all the money needed for what will be a huge financial commitment with very long-term consequences.
Everton confirmed last year that land at Bramley-Moore Dock, close to Liverpool city centre, had been secured.
The premium location and cost of preparing the land for building has seen the price tag for the project increase significantly, with the Club continuing to work alongside Liverpool City Council to deliver a home Elstone says will put football and the fans first, and challenge the predictable formats that have shaped stadia over the past two decades. He added:
The site commands a sizeable cost premium – not just the cost of the land but the cost of preparing the site to build a stadium on. But it’s a site that comes with some fantastic commercial upsides, opportunities our business plan continues to explore.
We are confident that around two-thirds of what we need will be supported by Liverpool City Council in an arrangement that generates not only a very healthy financial return for the Council but, most importantly, kick-starts a scheme that will provide significant numbers of new jobs, houses and new business.