Will Hampden striking design come to fruition?


Hampden Park of the future Image: Holmes Millier

It’s one of the longest-running debates in Scottish football – what to do with the national stadium of Scotland – Hampden Park?

‘BBC SPORT’ stated that the Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland (UK) was redeveloped in the 1990s from a mostly terraced ground to an all-seated arena with a capacity of more than 50,000.

The Hampden Park, often referred to as Hampden, is a football stadium in the Mount Florida area of Glasgow, Scotland (UK). The 51,866-capacity venue serves as the national stadium of football in Scotland. It serves as the residence of the Scotland national football team and the Scotland national rugby union team.

‘BBC SPORT’ further stated that despite the facelift, for decades supporters have complained about the ground’s shortcomings compared to more contemporary stadiums, most notably the distance from the pitch in the East and West Stands behind the goals.

That’s why the Tartan Army (fans of the Scotland national football team) will be excited at the images of a proposed new Hampden Park.

‘BBC SPORT’ further stated that in 2020, architects Holmes Miller, who were involved with recent upgrades to the stadium as well as Lesser Hampden, were commissioned to come up with a redesign by the Scottish Football Association.

Glasgow, Scotland (UK)-based the Holmes Miller is a practice rich in history filled with a passionate and enthusiastic team delivering excellence in architecture and interior design. The practice has built its reputation over the past seven decades by providing clients with the confidence and assurance they need to realize their building projects.

Glasgow (Scotland)-based the Scottish Football Association (SFA) is the governing body of football in Scotland and has the ultimate responsibility for the control and development of football in Scotland. Members of the SFA include clubs in Scotland, affiliated national associations as well as the local associations.

However, funding for the project at the time was at least partly predicated on an eventually abandoned UK World Cup 2030 bid. It also came just before the COVID-19 pandemic took a financial toll on the world.

Coupled with the rising costs and a squeeze on Government funding, it is unclear if the grand design will ever become a reality, but it is likely to whet the appetite among the fans used to a more traditional experience in Glasgow’s South side.

Plans show a new arena within the current footprint, consisting of a partly two-tier bowl design with stands tight to the pitch.

Computer illustrations have the stadium’s façade – similar to that of the Bundesliga giants FC Bayern Munich’s 75,024-capacity Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany – illuminated with ‘Scotland Bluebell Thistle’, while the grounds outside the arena are also changed to reflect the country’s coastline.
The design process continued up until last year, with other features of the aspirational concept including:

  • A retractable roof so that the stadium could be used as an indoor arena in Winter;
  • A steeper terrace;
  • An increased capacity of 65,000 to make Hampden Scotland’s largest football stadium;
  • A ‘Kop’-style stand behind each goal;
  • The facility to curtain off the top tier if attendances were below 30,000;
  • A ‘translucent external envelope’ that could change color depending on who was playing; and
  • Remodeled elements of the existing main stand being kept.

Said Ian Cooney, Holmes Miller Project Director, “We were approached by the SFA in 2020 to provide a vision for Hampden – the art of the possible. Our vision was to capture the essence of Hampden – the atmosphere – and wrap a world-class stadium around it. Better views, better facilities, a better experience… while retaining the magic. The discussions continued with the potential of a World Cup 2030 bid, and Euro 2028 bid – of which we all await the outcome. As a football fan and frequent visitor to Hampden throughout my life, it was great to imagine what a new Hampden could be.”

In 2018, the SFA began a £5m deal to purchase the national stadium from Queen’s Park (Scottish professional football club), with the Chief Executive Ian Maxwell declaring it “the start of the journey” to make Hampden “the best it can be”.

The ground hosted athletics at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, five games at EURO 2020 and has been included as part of a joint-UK bid to host the European Championship in 2028, which could bring in a portion of funding.

Scotland fans are renowned for having a dream. It may be this design has to remain there for now.

‘Art of the Possible’

‘Holmes Miller’ stated that Holmes Miller was approached by the SFA in 2020 to provide a vision for Hampden – the art of the possible.

Holmes Miller vision was to capture the essence of Hampden – the atmosphere – and wrap a world-class stadium around it. Better views, better facilities: A better experience…whilst retaining the magic.

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