Everton Stadium comes to Liverpool’s Historic Bramley-Moore Dock

The venue is a new home for the Blues’ devoted fans—and a passion project for Dan Meis, the American architect who designed it.
Everton Stadium comes to Liverpool’s Historic Bramley-Moore Dock
The new Everton Stadium is being built on the Bramley-Moore Dock in Liverpool, England, with 180-degree views up and down the River Mersey. The lattice pattern on the bricks references elements of Goodison Park, where the Blues have played for 131 years. Construction began on the new stadium in late 2021 and is expected to be completed in late 2024. Rendering Courtesy Everton Football Club

Dan Meis has two tattoos on his right forearm. One is the ancient acronym for Rome, where he designed a new soccer stadium that was never built, but he says “the project gave me the opportunity to go out on my own. That really started my independent practice.” The second tattoo, 1878, is the year Everton Football Club was founded in Liverpool, England—and its new home, replacing the legendary Goodison Park, is now rising on the River Mersey. “Everton was the one where we knew it was going to get built, and the Premier League was a big deal. Those two projects stand out over everything I’ve ever done,” says Meis, founder and principal of MEIS—A Perkins Eastman Studio.

The stadium won’t be complete until late 2024, but this week it was listed among the 10 stadiums across the UK and Ireland that will host the Men’s Euro 2028 soccer tournament. “The Premier League is the pinnacle of world football. It’s been a long time since any kind of international football has come to the UK,” Meis says. “It’s a reminder that this is not just about Everton. This is a building that’s important to the UK and certainly to all of Liverpool.”

North Shore aerial view of the new Everton stadium in Liverpool, Engliand

Everton’s stadium is just north of Liverpool’s city center, which includes the Three Graces—Victorian-era buildings whose iconic architecture has come to define the city’s frontage along the River Mersey. Fans are already referring to the stadium as the Fourth Grace. Rendering Courtesy Everton Football Club

After false starts over the past 30 years with two other potential sites proposed and rejected, the club chose the historic Bramley-Moore Dock in 2016. Meis was hired to provide the design concept (the city council approved it in 2020) for the stadium that’s now set to host a world tournament before the decade is out.

“What Dan has done is he’s tapped into what it means to be a football fan in this country, and that’s a really good talent to have, and I think he’s believable. He’s authentic to people,” says Alan Myers, the regional news editor for Sky Sports TV and a Liverpool native. “He’s definitely been taken in by the fans.”

Mark Thomas is one of the team’s most avid supporters; he attended his first game in 1976 at age 4, and later married his wife in the Goodison Park trophy room. Since construction of the new stadium began, he’s taken his cameras and drone there every week – sometimes twice a week, and at all hours of the day and night – to document its progress. When Meis first presented his design to the public at the nearby Titanic Hotel, Thomas says, “I was blown away. The hairs on the back of my arms stood up. We’d been let down so often, this felt like pie in the sky.” He continues: “Not a single Everton fan believed that what we saw that day would come to fruition. To see it growing before us is simply unreal!”

Despite the broad, ongoing consensus that the club needed a new home, it nonetheless means that longtime Evertonians will be leaving their family memories behind. Literally. “People’s ashes are there,” says Giulia Bould, a Liverpool resident and sport presenter for BBC Radio Merseyside. There are urns buried pitch side, she notes, with tiny blue plaques marking their names. The team ran out of room for any more 20 years ago, but people still stop by on the way from both weddings and funerals to leave their flowers there. Tickets are passed down through families. “People will see it as leaving behind generations of their family that they no longer have,” Bould explains. “It’s more than just a football stadium. It’s people’s home. I’m always emotional when I’m talking about it.” That’s why the new stadium has such a significant role to fill. “This will be the next part of their family story, and that’s why it had to be so right. It had to feel like Everton, and that’s a difficult job for Dan. How do you make a giant stadium feel like Everton?”

Construction work on the new Everton Stadium in Liverpool, England, with the team's current home, Goodison Park, in the background

Everton’s new site is a scant eight-minute drive from its current home at Goodison Park, whose blue walls can be seen at the top middle-right of this drone photo. Courtesy Mark Thomas

It all started with a sketch. Meis introduced his initial concept sketch to Everton Football Club Chairman Bill Kenwright. He sought to evoke the rough-hewn, gritty history of the former coal-handling dock for some of the city’s largest steamships—but with a sleeker, more modern élan. The result is a solid brick foundation that echoes the 19th-century structures that surround it, but with a glass-and-steel “wave” cresting over the top.

One of the first architectural sketches of the new Everton stadium in Liverpool, England, by American architect Dan Meis

Dan Meis’ early sketch for Everton Stadium. Courtesy Dan Meis

“He wanted to make it about the people—a stadium with warmth rather than just a big metal bowl,” Myers says. To create the design, he adds, “what he did was simply communicate and talk on a level which the fans understood. And more importantly, he listened, and a lot of people don’t listen in these situations. Fans don’t get listened to most of the time.”

Construction of Everton Stadium in north Liverpool, England, surrounded by 19th-century structures along the River Mersey

The stadium’s brick foundation speaks to the historic structures that surround it in north Liverpool. The project has also inspired a renaissance in what has long been a depressed area. The enormous old tobacco warehouse in the right foreground is being converted into luxury apartments. Photo courtesy Mark Thomas

After Meis and his team produced the initial design concept for the stadium, London architects BDP Pattern were placed in charge of executing those plans, while UK contractor Laing O’Rourke is bringing them to life. Meis has stayed on as the “design guardian,” visiting every few months to monitor the progress. During his most recent visit in July, he climbed up to the farthest seat from the pitch. One of the most exciting elements, as he demonstrated with a snapshot on X, is how close every fan will feel to the action – despite the stadium’s 52,888 capacity, a significant expansion from Goodison’s limit of 39,572.

The interior seating of Everton's new stadium under construction in Liverpool, England

The farthest seat from the new Everton pitch still feels close.
Photo Courtesy Dan Meis

“When you’re in Bramley-Moore, what I know fans are going to be shocked by is how it will feel like it’s just fans and the pitch. It’s very tight, it’s very intimate,” Meis says. “I know it’s going to be incredibly loud because the fans are already loud, and this is going to be a bit more enclosed, with a lot more people on top of the pitch.”

A rendering of the interior of Everton's new stadium in Liverpool, England

The seats will cascade right down to the grass at the new stadium. Rendering Courtesy Everton Football Club

The noise level at a recent Everton game at Goodison Park was recorded at 100 decibels, Bould says. That’s roughly the same as a hovering helicopter. “Dan said he was keen to keep that,” she says. “That was a big thing—about making it a cauldron of noise. That’s what Everton is famous for. It’s hostile.”

Liverpool’s other, eponymous football club tends to be better known outside the UK. This season, Liverpool FC—the Reds to Everton’s Blues—ranks fourth of the 20 teams in the Premier League while Everton is at 16. Yet Blues fans are most devoted when the team is behind. Goodison Park is generally a sellout no matter its record, Bould notes, and its fan fervor has been known as “the twelfth man,” giving the players an extra propellant when they need it, such as last spring when they beat No. 2 Arsenal “against all odds. The noise was incredible,” she says.

Many believe the new stadium will go even further to boost the team’s fortunes. “It’s going to be a real benefit for Everton Football Club—to the local area and the wider city region,” Thomas says. “I think immediately it will draw players, it will draw extra funding, and it will draw new fans from all over the world.”

For those reasons, Meis has become a minor celebrity in Liverpool. The Everton club has produced posters of his stadium sketches, which he’s frequently asked to autograph. The club’s marketing group also had him sign their construction vests on a site visit this summer. Many have said he won’t ever have to buy a pint of beer again when he’s in town.

Everton fan Mark Thomas poses with architect Dan Meis at an event for the new Everton stadium in Liverpool, England

Everton fan Mark Thomas, Area Manager for Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, took this selfie with Dan Meis
at an Everton event. Photo courtesy Mark Thomas

Though Meis is behind the design of such landmarks as the former Staples Center in Los Angeles, currently known as Arena, and the Saitama Super Arena in Japan, where the 2021 Olympics staged its basketball games, he says, “I don’t think I’ve ever had a building that I’ve been more personally passionate about, and from the very first sketch to the building getting built, where I’ve been this involved.”

A graphic containing quotes from Everton fans praising architect Dan Meis on the X social media platform

Meis maintains an active dialogue with fans on X. Above is a sampling of the outpouring of praise that
has come his way. Graphic Brooke Sullivan/Copyright Perkins Eastman

Meis is quick to note, however, that he feels uncomfortable with the notion that he’s the “lone architect” behind this endeavor. “There are thousands of people in the construction and engineering of this. In lots of ways, it shines an unfair light on me. There are a lot of people here who aren’t getting their pictures taken.”

Nevertheless, Meis has become the face of Everton’s first move away from its home pitch since Goodison Park opened in 1892. When fans enter the stadium for the first match—whether it’s midway through the 2024 season or at the opening of the 2025 season has yet to be determined—they will see elements of Goodison, such as the latticework pattern on the exterior brick that references the X-shaped trusses that line Goodison’s upper decks, and they’ll be able to generate the same intimidating “cauldron of noise.” But they’ll also enjoy a thoroughly modern waterfront venue just north of the city center, with all the hospitality-focused amenities that Goodison lacks.

The southwest view of the new Everton stadium in Liverpool, England, with a grand staircase and wide terraces along the waterfront.

While Goodison Park is closely surrounded by housing, the new stadium will offer extensive outdoor experiences and hospitality amenities both inside and out. Rendering Courtesy Everton Football Club

“The buzz about it like nothing I’ve seen in decades here. It already feels like Everton’s home because everyone pops in to take a look,” says Bould, who admits to taking regular detours there to check out the progress. “Dan has fallen in love with Everton, but Everton has fallen in love with him as well, so he is now an Everton legend without kicking a ball!”