It is little known that in 1999 Pendennis created the J.P.Morgan Media Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground, commissioned by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to be built in time for the ICC Cricket World Cup of that year. Designed by Future Systems Architects, the building was styled to be like an aluminium boat hull turned upon its side. At the time it was a futuristic structure which was innovative and unique, but fast became the standard that other grounds aimed for when developing new media centres, but that few have achieved as successfully.
Both the design and construction of the Media Centre were unconventional: the main structure is supported by a semi-monocoque system, which is a stressed shell structure more commonly used for airplane fuselages. This technology enabled the structure to be significantly lighter without the need for interior walls or pillars to hold up the roof. It maximised interior space, housing 120 journalists on the first level, with a second level encompassing radio and television broadcasting facilities. The impressive glass wall facing the grounds was built at a 25 degree angle, which was effective at minimizing any distracting external reflection.
The fabrication of curved aluminium structures is one that is synonymous within the yacht building industry and as such Pendennis was recruited for the build process due to their expertise in this area, as demonstrated in the custom-build of superyachts such as Ilona (now Ilonka) which was launched that same year. The giant pod that sits above the stands was built at Pendennis and then dismantled and reassembled in London. Once delivered to Lord’s it took a team of 25 Pendennis staff 6 months to complete the build onsite. So impressive and unique was the building that the project was awarded the 1999 Stirling Prize by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the completion of this ground-breaking project Pendennis organised a ‘superyacht cricket’ match at Lord’s Cricket Ground, inviting British superyacht media, lawyers, designers, suppliers and brokerage companies to play in the MCC Cricket Academy at the hallowed ground. Pendennis’ guests were delighted that former English cricketer Gladstone Small presented trophies for Best Batsman to Bryn Darbyshire (Winterbothams), with Best Bowler awarded to Charlie Baker (Redman Whiteley Dixon). The winning tournament Captain was Matt Pinckney (Burgess) and the Winning Plate Captain Michael Beattie of Yachting World.