West Ham Reportedly Begin Redevelopment Talks with OS Designer

February 17, 2011

Following their victory over Premier League rivals Tottenham to obtain preferred bidder status for the Olympic Stadium from the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), West Ham have reportedly already begun discussing turning the US$836m venue into a soccer and athletics ground with the stadium’s designer, Populous.

A spokesman for West Ham told Building Design that Populous had been brought in to help the club work up proposals for the initial bidding phase of the work, adding: “In getting through the bid stage we engaged the services of Westfield, which was leading a team that includes Populous.”

Populous is understood to be developing plans to install retractable seating at the venue ahead of the soccer club’s first game there, which isn’t expected to be due until the start of the 2014-2015 season.

One expert told the magazine: “Populous has done retractable seating before such as Stadium Australia [for the 2000 Olympics] so it can be done.”

West Ham is expected to shortly issue an OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) notice for its $153m plan to rework the facility, including modifying the roof, and installing permanent toilets, concession outlets and executive boxes.

Populous are expected to among the frontrunners to be awarded the contract, having worked on the redevelopment of Wembley Stadium and Arsenal’s new Emirates stadium. 

Architect Peter Cook, who helped Populous with its original design for the stadium, welcomed the decision to keep it and said Populous should bid for the work once it is advertised, stating: “[Tearing it down] would have been a waste of time and money. I think they [Populous] should give it a go. They have the experience in this whole thing to follow it through.”