Arup Associates' stunning pavillion revitalises historic Bridgetown cricket ground
The original brief was to assess the feasibility of redeveloping the legendary Kensington Oval Cricket Ground into a modern test venue. The architects' recommendation to redevelop Kensington Oval, rather than move to a new site, was unanimously adopted by the client following Arup Associates' presentation to the Prime Minister of Barbados. The architects were then asked to assist the local organising committee (LOC) with their bid to secure the much coveted Final match package for the 2007 Cricket World Cup. The ICC cited the design as a key factor in Barbados securing the Final.
The wider regeneration benefits to Bridgetown resulting from the redevelopment are profound. The design has transformed the area from a derelict semi industrial zone into a destination that is an integral part of Bridgetown. The architects have raised the visibility of the Oval on the townscape with a very modern building that addresses the local climate and character.
From the start it was decided ‘a collection of stands’ was the right approach, not a ‘stadium’. The design is driven by the need for uninterrupted views in light and comfortable conditions, achieved through environmental systems promoting natural ventilation and daylight. Forms are influenced by location; seismicity, hurricanes, heavy rainfall, tropical temperatures and extreme light levels.
All of the new stands are designed to three fundamental principles:
shaded seating; some light transmission through roof to reduce differential in light levels, and the need to maximise airflow to aid cooling.
The 3Ws stand is the signature stand and best expresses the principles above. It is conceived as a series of overlapping rings that maximise airflow, whilst maintaining shade and good views of the match. The unique form is a result of the viewing geometry and comfort requirements of spectators.