Until we finally see some concept sketches of the new stadium to be located at the Bramley-Moore Docks by the River Mersey, Everton fans will continue to wait breathlessly devouring every single word architect Dan Meis says about our new home.
Speaking to the biweekly magazine Leisure Opportunities, Meis talked about the project at hand and how he was attempting to create a new home for Everton but ensuring that it was not a soulless stadium at the same time.
“A major part of the challenge is how do we take somewhere that has been this magical place and move it somewhere else.
“There’s a cautionary tale with a lot of the new UK sports buildings. Clubs have moved to new venues that have none of the sense of history or the spirit of where they were before.
“I think what we’re seeing with the West Ham backlash, for example, is you can have a shiny new stadium, but if it’s not a great football venue it is going to face challenges.”
Goodison Park remains to this day one of most historic football venues in the nation, and Meis knows he faces a challenge bringing some of that into the new building.
“From the very first time I was at Goodison, I recognised the importance of the idea that this building has a memory and a long incredible history has been enjoyed there.
“So we have specific ideas about bringing physical pieces of the stadium with us to the new ground. Certainly references will be made. We’re not going to do it in a copied, cliched way – because that’s something you have to be careful about – but we will create moments where people will know this is from Goodison.”
A waterfront site has always been the ultimate fantasy for the fans ever since the idea of moving away from Goodison was first mooted, and fans will be happy to hear Meis is just as thrilled with the Bramley-Moore dock by the royal blue Mersey.
“It’s a dream site for an architect.
“The biggest opportunity is to be more connected to the centre of Liverpool, and to have an iconic location right along the Mersey.
“However, it has its challenges beyond the design considerations. This is a World Heritage Site, a dock rather than a wide open piece of land, and a precious front door to the city. So we have a great responsibility to create something that represents the city in a world-class way.”
Meis boasts a number of incredible stadiums in his portfolio, and is currently working on AS Roma’s new home, but added how he “began falling in love” with the Toffees as soon as he started hearing details of the project.
“I was blown away when I went to the first game at Goodison.
“The energy of the place and the love for the experience was something I can’t describe. I was an instant fan.
“Designing a new home for these fans is one of the most incredible experiences of my career.”
Fans have been invited to take part in surveys regarding the stadium’s design principles, and Meis freely interacts with Blues on social media too regarding the new stadium.
“It’s incredible how consistent the fans have been in the surveys. They know who they are and what they want, so I don’t worry about hearing tens of thousands of different views about what colour something should be or how big it should be. They’re all very passionate and very caring and they really do feel like this is their home, so it’s very important to involve them in the process.
“The workshops will be a great, fun forum to have a dialogue and to decide what elements will work for this stadium. For example, it’s one thing to say the stadium should have a roof on it – a lot of people have tweeted that it’s cold so we should have a retractable roof – but that really changes the experience of watching the football, costs a lot of money and can only be used at certain times. We need to decide what’s right for this location and this stadium.”
There are more fan workshops and forums upcoming, starting in a couple of weeks with Dan Meis present as well. Fans who took part in the previous survey are invited to attend these events by registering here.