Lord’s Media Centre, London (1999)
The Natwest Media Centre is a futuristic building that provides journalists and commentators with an enviable view of the grounds. Both its form and its structure are unconventional. The giant pod that sits above the stands was built in a Cornish boatyard, then dismantled and reassembled on site. It was the world’s first all-aluminium, semi-monocoque building, using the technique of welding the skin on to a structure of ribs and spars, characteristic of boat and aircraft building and removing the need for obstructive columns. The advantage of this method of construction was the provision of both a waterproof shell and structural elements in one material. External glare, which has been known to stop cricket matches elsewhere, is avoided by the 25-degree tilted windows.
Internally it is as comfortable and luxurious as the 50s Chevrolet whose baby-blue upholstery inspired it.
It is a complete one-off: a wacky solution to a singular problem. There is something brilliant about having a dream and seeing it through. Future Systems have been wanting to do this for a long time and they’ve done it. In so many ways this is the building of 1999: an extraordinary iconic structure that has landed in the middle of Lord’s and changed the face of cricket. It is at last in the 20th century – in the nick of time. It may or may not be the future, but it certainly works.’
Commissioned 1994 Completed 1999