Designing a legacy for cricket

Posted in Facilties and Funding

While the purpose of development is to create opportunities for play, most of us are inspired by the creation of a future legacy. The less inspiring grind of striving for continual improvement can seem endless, however the prospect of influencing others and introducing new people to your plans can keep the home fires burning.

It is with these thoughts in mind I am excited about the potential of the new design guidance note we have produced for Clubhouses and Pavilions (TS5).

Over a year in development, with numerous site visits to existing examples of pavilions used for cricket and other purposes, this guidance note is the most comprehensive of its type available.

What we have found on our journey is that there is no single “traditional” clubhouse or pavilion, but a wide range of buildings dressed in a design language that says more about the local culture and influences than it does about the history of cricket.

This may seem to be a sweeping assessment, but the evidence suggests that while there are numerous examples of actual or mock Victorian/Edwardian pavilions, clock towers and dominant roof profiles, the truth is that most merely throw a mirror up to a notion of what is relevant to our game as a sense of place, whilst only succeeding in capturing a moment in it’s more generic cultural past.

This led me to consider what is the essence of cricket’s design vocabulary? You could look at 50 different examples and not reach a certain conclusion.

What is consistent is the spatial arrangement with a social space as a focal point with changing rooms either side or side by side. The services and kitchen are to the back of the plan with the building elevated to provide a suitable view.

Larger examples may incorporate more changing rooms and different social spaces for functions. Separation of the players and the general public is considered whilst allowing circulation inside and out with the pitch as the constant theme.

Ts5 Illustration Promo

A design illustration from the new publication

This type of arrangement is replicated many times around the country.

So while there is a “tradition” in the principles of the use of space or function, the main difference appears to be how the exterior is dressed and how it is relevant to its local context. This makes it possible to be traditional by following spatial principles without the need to dress the building in mock Victoriana theme.

Could our future legacy be to set the design language for the next 40 years rather than being lost in the last 100?

What ECB has strived to do with this guidance is inform any new development of the key issues and relationships carrying forward the learning of successful examples of traditional and contemporary buildings. ECB hopes the guidance will inspire more thought in what the games future generations will associate with.

Key themes include sustainable building solutions, designing for future use, careful planning in the use of natural light and the creation of a sense of place.

The guidance seeks to explain the importance of inside and out and the use of the space that connects the two.

The guidance is a valuable resource that will contribute to new cultural influences and compliment thoughtful planning and design. Any club or organisation that plans to provide a home for our sport should draw energy from the document as they seek to provide their future legacy.