With the Northumberland Development Project underway, we are continuing a weekly series that highlights details from the new stadium plans, which are freely and publicly available on the Haringey Borough Online Planning Services website. We're calling this series "NDP Dispatches." Here's the latest entry.
Everything about the Northumberland Development Project is opulent and grandiose in a George Jetson sort of way. Tottenham are trying to build a stadium that is both ambitious and sui generis; a venue whose appeal extends beyond football and into an array of intriguing use cases. The most breathtaking of these features is the new stadium's proposed "Tottenham Skywalk".
The Tottenham Skywalk is a visitors attraction which will draw visitors to the stadium and Tottenham in addition to the traditional stadium tour. It offers an alternative experience of a stadium, with an adrenaline funded climb to the apex of the roof, vertigo inducing walk across the polycarbonate roof and unique views of the goal line below concluded with a dramatic abseil to the podium below.
The Skywalk allows visitors an industrious hike up the exterior of the stadium, which culminates in a stroll across a transparent glass bridge that protrudes over the south stand. While Spurs' new stadium will be the first football ground in the world to offer this structure, skywalks aren't without precedent in modern architecture. Both the O2 in southeast London and the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia offer experiences similar to what Tottenham have planned.
Reading up on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, their skywalk seems like a journey that is both harrowing and accessible. On one hand anybody in decent health over the age of eight is permitted on their three hour climbing tours, on the other hand some heavy duty gear is required. Suits, ropes, and carabiners are all accompanying items when setting out on a skywalk. While the NDP planning documents don’t make any mention of required climbing gear for Skywalk participants, it does reference an "abseiling point" which suggests something more rugged than a trudge up a few flights of stairs.
Like the Sydney Harbour Bridge though, the views from the Tottenham Skywalk will be spectacular. The trek has five core stages which offer different vantage points and experiences for its visitors. The walk starts on the southern end of the western side of the stadium where the Skywalk ascent begins. Traveling up to Level 5, one continues on the external open walkway up towards the roof. This is a pretty wild concept. Supporters and visitors alike will be trudging up the outer facade, carabiners and all, where they will catch glimpses of the frenetic indoor pace of the stadium, while also viewing the vastness of greater London.
Upon reaching the roof they will have a wonderful panorama of England's capital before having the option to explore further. In what might be the most ingenious part of the design, supporters can wander directly over the gargantuan south stand and see views of the single tier stand and the pitch below. The transparent structure allows a view that simply doesn't exist in any sporting venue in the world. As such, there is some magic to it. Think about the excitement surrounding a child's first few visits to their favorite team's stadium and their inherent need to climb to the top row to see what everything looks like from afar— the latter part of the Skywalk is this concept, for everyone.
The Tottenham Skywalk exemplifies the Northumberland Development Project's aspirations. Enterprising, futuristic, and welcoming. The Skywalk, like the stadium itself, aims to appeal to a greater audience than the Spurs faithful. With a component that has universal allure, the skywalk should be a luminescent feature in an already impressive structure.