The architect for Everton’s new stadium at Bramley-Moore Docks is setting the bar high for the new arena. Very high indeed.
So much so that Dan Meis insists that the Toffees stadium will be the prototype for football facilities going forward.
“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.”
Evertonians have been desperately waiting to see what the new stadium will look like ever since plans to move to Bramley Moore were revealed last year. Meis has kept the details under wraps while the club have also ensured nothing has leaked out.
“I think one of the most unique things about it, about the Club, is the notion of the 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.”