The architect behind Everton FC's planned new stadium at Bramley Moore Dock in Liverpool recently said his design will "embrace the future of English football without totally forgetting the past" - avoiding the pitfalls that have befallen clubs such as West Ham when moving away from a much-loved home.
Dan Meis, founder of Meis Architects, admitted he feels "a huge responsibility" at the task of creating a replacement for Goodison Park, the team's home of 126 years and one of the world's oldest purpose-built football grounds.
"A major part of the challenge is how do we take somewhere that has been this magical place and move it somewhere else," he said. "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."
The architect pledged that Everton would avoid this trap with the move across the city to Bramley Moore.
"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," he said. "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."
Everton's long-running quest to build its new home took a major step forward last November after it reached an agreement to lease land for the site at the dock if it is able to gain planning consent and secure funding. The deal will run for a period of 200 years at a nominal rent.
"It's a dream site for an architect," Meis said. "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."
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