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In the heart of London, The Oval—England’s most historic cricket ground—welcomes visitors from across the world. Now, thanks to this project from ADAM Architecture, The Oval’s welcome is even more inviting.
The southern front of The Oval, located in the neighborhood of Kennington, was replaced with a new entrance featuring a four-story portico. The new facade opens the 23,000-person stadium “to the local area and beyond, in order to be wholly inclusive and welcoming to its neighbours and visitors.”
Prior to the renovation, the forecourt had been covered in blacktop pavement and enclosed by 10-foot-high advertisements, completely obscuring the area from the local community that surrounds the facility. Durable surface materials replaced the tarmac to better accommodate pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
The advertising “was removed and has been replaced with splendid gates contained within railings. This makes it possible to secure the forecourt perimeter in the event of potential threats or, more ordinarily, for the gates to be held open to render the perimeter and forecourt wholly accessible,” the designers explain.
“The Surray County Cricket Club is delighted with the new portico entrance and it has been universally praised as an outstanding design which provides a commanding and iconic entrance to the ground. It provides a much more welcoming and impressive public face to the ground, and has inspired a feeling of pride amongst both Club staff and visitors alike,” notes Richard Gould, chief executive of the Club, which owns the facility.
Mayor Boris Johnson exclaimed: “The new portico and public space at the cricket ground is a fantastic scheme—and we want more of this sort of thing.”
Where the forecourt meets the street, the original gate designed in 1934 by noted architect Louis de Soissons was restored and relocated to align with the forecourt. Decorative ironwork makes reference to the restored gate as the centerpiece of the new design.
“The new pavilion portico, entrance forecourt and perimeter railings bring to fruition a long overdue transformation of this historic site, and create a grand new main entrance that is worthy of this world famous cricket ground.”
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