Knowing that I have a passing interest, that’s by no means expert, in architecture, someone tagged me on Twitter the other day a with a link to a fabulous article.

From a blog called Calcio England and entitled ‘Florence, Rome, Swindon: How the Grand Master of Italian Stadium Design Nearly Made His Mark in England’, the article had my interest well and truly piqued.

Below is an extract from it. Do follow the link above and read the whole thing. Fascinating stuff.

It turns out that:

In June 1963, whilst at the height of his appeal, Nervi received an unexpected piece of correspondence from the municipality of Swindon, England. Swindon was a mid-sized railway town, located 80 miles west of London in the rural county of Wiltshire. The letter from Mr Laurence Robertson explained that he had received authorisation from the local Council to engage an “illustrious” architect to produce plans for a new grandstand at the County Ground, home of Second Division Swindon Town FC. The project was to be funded by the Council as landowners and repaid over time by the tenant football club.

The letter from Swindon Council described their admiration for Nervi’s Olympic portfolio, making particular reference to the Stadio Flaminio. They wanted to bring a piece of nuovo-Roman chic to Wiltshire.

The precise identity of the visionary on the Swindon Development Committee remains a mystery, but the employment of Nervi certainly represented a shift in the town’s traditional architectural style, which was more Industrial Revolution than Italian Modernism. This was to be Britain’s first Nervi monument.’

Who knew?

Swindon county ground - Nervi football stand that Swindon almost got

Swindon’s County Ground – not with a Nervi-designed stand.

NB: Image supplied by STFC for use in
Swindon in 50 Buildings.

See also this post about the County Ground Hotel.