By Mark Baber
March 10 – A few hours after the news had leaked out prematurely, FC Barcelona announced officially that the winner of the international design competition for the refashioning of the Camp Nou is the Nikken Sekkei and Pascual i Ausió Arquitectes team.
In their press release, titled simply ‘This is the New Camp Nou’ Barcelona explain the reasons behind the jury’s choice, saying: “The Nikken Sekkei + Pascual i Ausió Arquitectes proposal stands out for being open, elegant, serene, timeless Mediterranean and democratic.
“It is also notable for its relationship with the environment, providing depth, creating shadows and making members the stars of the facade and of the open area at all times. The proposal presents a very subtle attempt to intervene in the environment to facilitate circulation and achieve diverse urban usage in the Barça Campus and guarantees a clear and safe construction.
“In short, it is a unique solution, reproducing the characteristic vision of the grandstand and canopy, from the inside out, a silent and powerful tribute to the stadium built by Francesc Mitjans in 1957.”
In the second round of the tender from September 2015, the Nikken Sekkei + Pascual i Ausió Arquitectes team were up against seven other firms, each composed of an international studio and a local one, and their proposals had to meet a strict brief including allowing the stadium to continue to function during the restructuring, expanding the venue’s capacity to a total of 105,000 spectators from the existing 99,354 and building a new roof which will cover all the stands.
The new design will see the area under the grandstands open to the outside, the top tier of the stadium expanded so that it is the same height all the way around and the 1st tier given a steeper slope, with fans being brought closer to the action.
The total cost of bringing the stadium into the twenty-first century is expected to be around €400 million, but this is expected to be off-set by the sale of naming rights which may pay half the bill. Construction is expected to start during the 2017-18 season, with the project expected to be complete in 2021.
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