Meis to be ‘re-engaged’ on Everton stadium project

US architect Dan Meis has revealed that he has been in talks with Everton about becoming “re-engaged” with the Premier League club’s plans to build a new stadium on Bramley Moore Dock.

Meis was the architect behind the original design of Everton’s new stadium but he confirmed in June 2020 that he was “not currently engaged” in the project after reports emerged that British firm Pattern would take up the role of technical architect.

Pattern had worked with Meis on the designs of the 52,000-seat stadium, and Meis had said that he was no longer involved in the project after the Liverpool Echo newspaper reported that architectural duties had been handed over to Pattern.

Although Meis was reportedly “offered a role” in the building of the stadium, he stepped aside from the project last year and described the handling of the situation as “one of the greatest disappointments of my career”.

Meis now looks set to rejoin the project, work on which began in the summer. Meis’ role on the project is unclear but he confirmed in an interview with the BBC World Service that he will be re-engaged with the project “really soon”.

Meis revealed that there were a “lot of hurdles” his US-based firm had to go through to prove the stadium could be built on Bramley Moore Dock. In the interview, he also explains why he stepped aside from the project.

“I had lost another project along the way because I was so devoted to Everton,” he said. “I had another client who basically said, ‘I don’t think you have the bandwidth to do both projects,’ so we were taken off a project because of our devotion to Everton, then all of a sudden I was off Everton.

“I think what was disappointing to me was I had a team of 30 people who had been thinking about this building 24/7 for years, and I don’t believe there was anybody better positioned to help carry that through. The good thing is, what can happen in that process is the delivery architect comes in, works with the contractor and all of a sudden the design gets beat up, watered down and changed for various reasons – that hasn’t happened here.

“It’s been great to see that both the club and everyone involved has been pretty protective of the original vision, so I feel really good about that. Most excitingly, I’ve been talking to the club about being re-engaged and so that’s going to happen really soon and it feels great to be back in the family and feel part of it.”

Meis went on to explain how the final design, which he described as both contemporary and historic, was decided upon. Meis’ first ideas centred on bringing forward a “historic English stadium” concept, which he thought was “much better than giving them (Everton) an NFL building”.

He added: “The chairman hated it. He hated everything about that idea but I think he saw my passion and the passion of my team.

“I flew over four or five of my guys and we were building models in London and then going up to Liverpool to present them. He really connected with our passion for the club and the project.

“But it was his sense that he wanted something that he hadn’t seen before and then mixing that notion with the local materials and something that felt like it grew out of the docks was really important to me and that’s how we got to where we got to.”

Last month, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority signed off on a funding package of up to £45m (€53m/$62m) to support work linked to the development of Everton’s new stadium, with the club stating the verdict was “testament to the impact” the project will have on communities across the region.

Everton was officially cleared to begin work on the stadium in March after its planning application received Government approval. Liverpool City Council’s Planning Committee unanimously approved the plans on February 23.

Image: Everton