Twickenham debuts new gateways, opens East Stand

Twickenham Stadium on Saturday opened up two new gateway entrances designed by London-based architect WilsonOwensOwens (WOO), while the venue also celebrated the official opening of its new East Stand.

The WOO-designed gateways have been made from standing seam zinc and form the main entrances to Twickenham from Whitton Road. Fans were able to walk through the gateways for the first time on Saturday as England defeated South Africa 12-11 in the first of the Quilter Internationals.

The gateways have been designed to create a heroic sense of arrival at Twickenham and extend the ticketed perimeter of the stadium. This extended space will feature an array of food and beverage outlets, entertainment options and event activations.

The gateways have been based on a temporary structure initially created by WOO for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and they complement the existing Poppy and Rose Gates in look and feel.

The entrances provide state-of-the-art turnstile and access systems, as well as weather protection for staff and spectators during security checks. The main entrance canopy also includes free standing zinc lettering spelling out ‘TWICKENHAM’, with the lettering edge-lit with subtle LED lighting. LED screens will also be fitted within the canopy, while lighting will be used on non-match days.

Additionally, two three-metre-high gates will be situated either side of the main structures and carry a verse of the hymn ‘Jerusalem’ – the anthem of English rugby. WOO has also overseen the broader masterplan with a rationalised western perimeter to the West Fan Park.

WOO partner and co-founder Kevin Owens said: “Our work at Twickenham as lead architects for the 2015 Rugby World Cup demonstrated that the West Fan Zone of the stadium could be reinvigorated and transformed by a realigned perimeter and new entrances. We wanted to deliver a true and recognisable entrance for the real fans. A destination and arrival worthy of the Home of English Rugby.”

Meanwhile, Saturday’s match against South Africa also saw the official opening of Twickenham’s new East Stand by World Rugby chairman and former England captain Bill Beaumont.

The stand features four new England Rugby Hospitality venues – British Airways Rose Garden, The Gate, The Lock and The East Wing – which it is hoped will take Twickenham’s hospitality experience to new heights. On Saturday, a team of 70 chefs and 360 hospitality staff served dishes featuring a nod to South Africa.

Nick Braude, catering, conference and events director at Twickenham Stadium, said: “The opening of our new East Stand facilities on Saturday went extremely well. We have truly raised the bar for stadium hospitality. Initial feedback from guests has been overwhelmingly positive in each of our four new restaurants.

“We deliberately set out to create concepts that would offer guests a very distinct choice when it comes to hospitality enabling them to tailor the experience to suit their needs and those of their guests. And that approach has paid off. Gone is the standard hospitality one-size-fits-all plated meal served at tables of ten. Instead, our new facilities, designed to accommodate a range of styles, table sizes and price points to suit varied budgets and group sizes, have delivered an experience that is hard to beat.”

Images: WilsonOwensOwens