Craven Cottage

Craven Cottage has been the home of Fulham FC for over 100 years, and for the past twenty, WSP has been providing the club with engineering advice. In 2013, we helped them gain planning permission for the replacement of their Riverside Stand; but when the club was sold, the project was shelved.

 

New Riverside Stand for Fulham Football Club

The new owner appointed Populous, the architects who designed their stadium, to revive the scheme. We were delighted to be appointed in the summer of 2017 to provide all engineering services for the new, re-imagined Riverside Stand. These include structural, geotechnical, building services, façade and fire engineering, environmental, security, transport planning and acoustics.

For Fulham FC, the new stand is a chance not only to enhance the experience for its supporters but also to contribute to and interact with the Thames riverside.

The club is very proud of its attractive location on the banks of a stretch of the River Thames popular for walking, sailing and rowing, with nearby parks and leafy residential development. One problem with the existing stand is that it interrupts the Thames Path. With the new stand, we are creating a walkway alongside the river, and the stand itself will contain restaurants, cafes, bars, corporate hospitality suites and event space, all accessible to the public. There will also be serviced apartments. Capacity of the stand will be doubled to just under 9,000, bringing the total ground capacity to nearly 30,000.

Key Numbers

Riverside Stand Capacity
9,000
Total Capacity
30,000

The Riverside Stand’s architecture reflects its riverfront heritage using aspects of boathouse design that are synonymous with development along this section of the river, while on the pitch side the sweeping roof adds a landmark element to the project.

The riverside location creates the greatest engineering challenges on this project. These started with the planning process and preparing the environmental statement which formed part of the application. This involved tree surveys, consideration of the impact of the development on fish and other marine life and ensuring that nocturnal species such as bats would not be disturbed by the stadium lights. While moving the river wall further out, we have minimised the amount of construction in the river. The walkway is supported on piles, and we had to conduct studies to understand the impact of this on the water flow to ensure it didn’t upset fish spawning. We carried out wind tunnel testing to demonstrate that the new stand wouldn’t adversely affect the wind environment for the local sailing clubs. We also had to prepare an energy statement for the development, demonstrating that it would meet very stringent targets for energy use and carbon emissions.

The greatest structural challenge relates to the constraints of the site, which the new stand hemmed in by the river, the field of play and the two adjacent existing stands. Despite the challenging site we have attempted to make the structure as simple as possible for efficiency and to aid construction. As usual, we have developed a detailed model of the structure and MEP that describes every element at the right size, coordinated with all the other engineering disciplines as well as the architecture.