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Leading international sports venue architecture firm, HOK, has released design details for FC Barcelona’s new arena. FC Barcelona recently selected HOK and Barcelona-based TAC Arquitectes to design the New Palau Blaugrana as part of an international architectural competition that drew responses from 19 teams.

The New Palau Blaugrana, which will have a capacity of 12,000 for sporting events and 12,500 for social and cultural events, is a key component of a broader project to improve FC Barcelona’s facilities, including a major renovation of the Camp Nou stadium, in creating the Espai Barça sports district.

Construction on the New Palau Blaugrana is expected to begin during the 2017/18 FC Barcelona basketball season and finish during the 2019/20 season. It will replace the 7,500-seat Palau Blaugrana, which opened in 1971.

John Rhodes, a London-based Director of HOK’s Sports + Recreation + Entertainment practice, said:

Our design of the New Palau Blaugrana will enhance FC Barcelona’s global brand and the fan experience while connecting to other planned developments in the Espai Barça district. We are creating an immersive experience that begins the moment patrons step off the Metro and continues until they reach their seats and then through their post-event activities. The architectural language complements the energy, passion and movement of the performances taking place inside the arena and throughout this new sports and entertainment district.

The New Palau Blaugrana will be built on the current site of the Mini Estadi, a 15,276-seat stadium. The building acts as a physical and visual anchor that aligns with the district’s existing architecture while making a bold, contemporary statement. It also opens up and integrates the club’s venues into the Les Corts neighbourhood.

To engage fans beyond the arena’s walls, the design blends the indoors and outdoors. Its curvilinear form includes an elegant, metallic facade strategically connected to the immediate and wider surroundings. This transparency creates an inviting atmosphere and provides glimpses of the action inside. A large projection screen on the underside of the arena’s roof will show footage of the event underway. An outdoor concourse features concession areas that the public can enjoy 365 days a year. An open-air, street festival environment celebrates the Mediterranean climate and provides year-round revenue opportunities. Outdoor patios, public plazas and green spaces across the site, which will be vehicle-free, create informal spaces for people to gather before, during and after events.

The design maintains the current Palau’s reputation as a loud, energetic arena that provides a unique experience for European fans and the home team. HOK and TAC designed the seating bowl to emulate a theatre environment, with an asymmetrical design — the first of its kind for a basketball arena — that provides more capacity on one side. Using state-of-the-art, customised digital tools, the designers calibrated the venue and bowl geometries to achieve optimal results for viewing quality, shape and dimensions of the event spaces. The tighter, steeper and more intimate bowl provides exceptional sightlines, creates a “wall of people” and captures the noise to create an intense spectator experience and intimidating venue for visiting teams. The compact building span reduces structural costs and improves operational efficiencies. The flexible, retractable seating configuration adapts for each use.

Premium amenities include 24 VIP boxes and four sky bars/lounges that provide court views. The project also includes three independently functioning areas: an adjacent court with capacity for up to 2,000 spectators, an ice rink with seating for 800 fans and the FCB Escola academy training facilities, which include two football fields.

HOK’s Sports + Recreation + Entertainment practice has expertise in the design of arenas, stadiums, ballparks, training facilities and recreation centres. The group plans and designs world-class sports complexes that are the centerpieces of successful, vibrant entertainment districts. Current and recent projects include Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta; the Detroit Events Center in Detroit, Michigan; Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia; a proposed NBA and NHL arena in Seattle, Washington; the Dubai Expo 2020 masterplan in the United Arab Emirates; the AT&T Center renovation in San Antonio, Texas; Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California; the renovation of Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Florida; the redevelopment of Fort Regent in St. Helier, Jersey; and Shell Place in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm. Through a network of 24 offices worldwide, HOK provides design excellence and innovation to create places that enrich people’s lives and help clients succeed. DesignIntelligence consistently ranks HOK as a leader in sustainable, high-performance design and technology innovation.

 

FC Barcelona has announced that the Espai Barça jury has unanimously selected the bid by Nikken Sekkei + Pascual i Ausió Arquitectes as the winner of the tender for the design of the new Camp Nou. The jury, made up of five FCB members, three members of the Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC) and one member of Barcelona City Council, made its decision after a review of the different proposals by a technical commission in accordance with the criteria established in the regulations and requirements for the tender. The decision was made at a meeting held on Tuesday afternoon in the Ricard Maxenchs Press Room at Camp Nou.

The jury commented that the “Nikken Sekkei + Pascual i Ausió Arquitectes proposal stands out for being open, elegant, serene, timeless Mediterranean and democratic”.

They also said that it is “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 jury went on to say that 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”.

And in conclusion, they said “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”.

International Architectural Tender

Last June 5 brought the start of the the International Architectural Tender to select the projects for the new Camp Nou and the new Palau Blaugrana. The bidding process began with the publication of the regulations and selection criteria. The tender was run over two phases and was conducted in collaboration with the Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya.

The jury was made up of five members of FC Barcelona, four from the Board of Directors and one architect; three members of the Col·legi d’Arquitectes; and one representative of Barcelona City Council. The FC Barcelona members of the Espai Barça jury were Josep Maria Bartomeu, Susana Monje, Jordi Moix, Emili Rousaud and architect Juan Pablo Mitjans. The Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC) was represented by its dean Lluís Comeron, and architects Arcadi Pla and Joan Forgas, while the Council was represented by its assistant city planning manager, Aurora López.

The first phase of the tender involved the pre-qualification of the different teams on the basis of the regulations and selection criteria. A total of 45 teams initially presented bids, 26 for the new Camp Nou and 19 for the new Palau, along with their credentials and evidence of their experience of similar projects.

In September 2015, the Espai Barça jury and technical committee selected, from the original 26 candidatures, eight teams for the definitive tender for the new Camp Nou. The teams had to be composed of one international studio and one local one, and had to base their proposals on the list of conditions published by the technical commission overseeing the tender, which was made up of the Espai Barça technical board, led by the director of the Patrimonial Area, William T. Mannarelli, and two architects from the Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC).

The team formed by NIKKEN SEKKEI + Joan Pascual i Ramon Ausió Arquitectes was duly selected ahead of bids by: AECOM + B720 Arquitectes, AFL + Mateo Arquitectura, Arup Sport + Taller d’Arquitectura Ricardo Bofill, BIG + IDOM + BAAS Arquitectes, GENSLER Sport + OAB, HKS + COX + Batlle i Roig Arquitectes and POPULOUS + Mias Arquitectes + RCR Arquitectes.

The new Camp Nou

Work on the new Camp Nou is scheduled to start in the 2017/18 season and end in the 2021/22 season.

The design criteria states that all seats must be covered and protected from adverse weather conditions, the new roof must measure more than 47,000sqm and all seats must have a perfect view of the pitch, with the first tier being made steeper. Hospitality facilities will also be improved and new hi-tech LED screens added.

The winning team

The Japanese Nikken Sekkei company has been around for over 100 years and is one of Asia’s leading architectural and engineering studios. This company designed the Saitama Super Arena, the Big Swan Stadium in Niigata and the Tokyo Dome, all in Japan. This team is working with the Catalan studio Pascual i Ausió Arquitectes headed by Joan Pascual and Ramon Ausió, who have a long and proven history of experience in Barcelona involving residential buildings, office blocks and hotels, such as Hotel Diagonal Zero.

The Espai Barça sports district

The high-profile renovation is the biggest component of an ambitious €600m (US$651.9m, £467.4m) sports district called Espai Barça, which also includes the New Palau Balgrana multi-use arena, designed by US architects HOK.

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Images courtesy: FC Barcelona.

FC Barcelona has presented its proposal for a new Espai Barça, which aims to provide the biggest and best sports facility that the world has ever seen in a city centre.

The New Palau Blaugrana was presented at the 1899 Auditorium, where the President of FC Barcelona Josep Maria Bartomeu spoke about the innovative project.

The current Palau is famous for its nights of glory and great comebacks, and so the Club President was quick to assure that the new stadium will maintain its terrific atmosphere.

The President said that “it is designed to remain a cauldron”, which is a prominent characteristic felt by both players and fans alike in the current court. He also stated his delight with the final design as being “a global renovation project and improvement of the FC Barcelona facilities”.

The New Palau will be “unique, innovative and an architectural jewel” which will hold everything necessary “to help us complete our objective of becoming the biggest sporting club in the world”.

This is a project that will benefit all of the club’s teams, said the President, “in order to maintain and improve their positions of excellence and their sporting successes”.

Bartomeu also confirmed his pride in the construction of the project, saying that “we are building the Espai Barça with transparency and looking after the environment, for persons with reduced mobility and for the benefit of our immediate surroundings”.

Daring but sensible

Director of the Espai Barça commission Jordi Moix also lended his thoughts on the project:

We want to make the New Palau daringly, but also sensibly and with common sense. The first thing we ask is that the atmosphere of the current Palau is maintained.

In addition, Moix stated that, given that the New Palau is being built on the site of the current Miniestadi both the New Miniestadi and the New Palau are overlapping projects

Therefore, until the New Miniestadi is built, work will not begin on the New Palau, which is scheduled for 2017. He also said that selling the naming rights of the stadium could fund the project.

Capacity and atmosphere of the New Palau

The mass social interest in professional sports is high. Therefore, Moix believes “we have the sufficient facilities to cover around 10,000 seats”.

However, the New Palau is designed to be flexible. Through retractable seating, it can reach a capacity of 12,000 spectators.

To maintain its famous atmosphere of the current Palau, Gascón from TAC Arquitectes, assured that they will work hard on the proximity of the fans and the acoustic effect.

John Rhodes from HOK Architecture, on his part, said:

We will create an arena with energy that provides a unique experience for European fans.

Winning bid

The bid by HOK + TAC Arquitectes is remarkably innovative with its concept of a multi-functional Palau, and is also outstanding for its permeability, flexibility and personality. With organic geometry, it offers a fine sequence between the Palau, annex court, ice rink and the FCB Escola facilities. The winning team is currently working together with the Barça technical teams and the Barcelona City Council to make further specifications and work further on the integration of the new installations with the rest of the Espai Barça and the city.

HOK Architecture is one of the most important firms in the United States in terms of architecture and engineering, with experience of all kinds of projects, all around the world. HOK developed the American Airlines Arena in Miami, the Nationwide Arena in Ohio and the Stockton Arena in California. The team also has the experience of being the architects behind the First Direct Arena in Leeds.

Locally, Eduard Gascón of TAC Arquitectes leads a solid team with extensive experience of the development of all kinds of projects in Barcelona, such as the award winning Parc del Turó de Can Mates, the Technology Centre in Manresa and different office buildings in Barcelona.

The HOK + TAC Arquitectes bid overcame fellow bids from Pattern Architects + Massip-Bosch Arquitectes, GMP + GCA Arquitectes, Make + BCQ Arquitectes, Francisco Mangado Arquitectos + Bach Arquitectes + R. Sanabria Arquitectes + I. Paricio and Wilkinson Eyre Architects + Alonso Balaguer Riera Arquitectes.

FC Barcelona has announced that the Espai Barça jury has selected the bid by the HOK + TAC Arquitectes team as the winner of the architectural tender for the New Palau Blaugrana. The jury, formed by five members of FCB, three members of the Collegi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC) and one member of Barcelona City Council, made their decision after a careful study of the different proposals, carried out by a technical commission, in accordance with specifically established regulations and the requirements of the tender process.

The bid by HOK + TAC Arquitectes is remarkably innovative with its concept of a multi-functional Palau, and is also outstanding for its permeability, flexibility and personality. With organic geometry, it offers a fine sequence between the Palau, annex court, ice rink and the FCB Escola facilities. The winning team will now commence working together with the Barça technical teams and the Barcelona City Council to make further specifications and work further on the integration of the new installations with the rest of the Espai Barça and the city.HOK Architecture is one of the most important firms in the United States in terms of architecture and engineering, with experience of all kinds of projects, all around the world. HOK developed the American Airlines Arena in Miami, the Nationwide Arena in Ohio and the Stockton Arena in California. The team also has the experience of being the architects behind the First Direct Arena in Leeds.

Locally, Eduard Gascón of TAC Arquitectes leads a solid team with extensive experience of the development of all kinds of projects in Barcelona, such as the award winning Parc del Turó de Can Mates, the Technology Centre in Manresa and different office buildings in Barcelona.

The duo overcame rival bids from Pattern Architects + Massip-Bosch Arquitectes, GMP + GCA Arquitectes, MAKE + BCQ Arquitectes, Francisco Mangado Arquitectos + Bach Arquitectes + R. Sanabria Arquitectes + I. Paricio and Wilkinson Eyre Architects + Alonso Balaguer Riera Arquitectes. The jury congratulated all of the entrants for the high level and quality of the different bids presented for tender.

The New Palau Blaugrana

The work on the New Palau Blaugrana is expected to start in the 2017/18 season and end in the 2019/20 season. The complex on which it will stand is on the current site of the Miniestadi, next to the new Camp Nou station on Metro Line 9, and will have three areas that can operate independently. One is the huge multi-purpose pavilion, with the capacity for 10,000 spectators at sports events. The others are an auxiliary court with a capacity of 2,000 and the other is a complementary ice rink.

The capacity of 10,000 meets the requirements of the Euroleague basketball competition and the seats will be arranged to be right next to the court, thus fostering a veritable ‘wave effect’.

Spectator Services

The New Palau will have wide areas that are easily accessed and conditioned for all services that spectators might require, and will be fully adapted for persons with reduced mobility.

The requirements included the need for the main and auxiliary courts to be located on the same level, with shared locker rooms and services for athletes, with each sports section having its own compact area including all necessary services, and for there to be 18 VIP boxes and two ‘skybars’ with views of the court, one of which can also function as a restaurant. It also needs to have a 200 m2 pressroom with work areas and specific services, and for access to the court to be via three tunnels to assist with assembly and disassembly of operations for different matches and other events.

The presentation of the New Palau Blaugrana construction project will take place at a public event to be held over the next few weeks.

Espai Barça

The FC Barcelona members unanimously approved the New Espai Barça, the project to transform the Club’s facilities, including the Camp Nou, Palau Blaugrana and Miniestadi. 72.36% of members gave the ‘green light’ to the remodelling and construction of the FC Barcelona premises at this site at a referendum held on 5 April 2014.

The tenders to select the architectonic projects for the construction of the New Camp Nou and New Palau Blaugrana, which began last June 5, entered the second phase with the selection of the shortlist of candidates, and the period for them to present their architectonic proposals for each installation.

The jury selected eight teams which were mainly made up of one international and one local studio each, to prepare their proposals for the New Camp Nou, and another six teams to do the same for the New Palau Blaugrana, in accordance with the recommendations made by the technical commission, made up of the Espai Barça team and two architects from the COAC.

A total of 45 teams took part in the first round of the tender, who had to present their credentials and experience of similar projects. The jury and the Espai Barça technical committee then selected the finalists, who were presented with guidelines showing all of the information required to put their projects together, along with the regulations and criteria for the second phase and all of the documentation compiled by the Espai Barça during the last year of work.

The New Camp Nou

Over the next few weeks, the jury is set to announce the winner of the project for the New Camp Nou. The eight candidates are as follows: AECOM + B720 Arquitectes, Arup Sport + Taller d’Arquitectura Ricardo Bofill, BIG + IDOM + BAAS Arquitectes, Gensler Sport + OAB, HKS + COX + Batlle i Roig Arquitectes, KSS + Mateo Arquitectura, Nikken Sekkei + Joan Pascual i Ramon Ausió Arquitectes and Populous + MIAS Arquitectes + RCR Arquitectes.

The New Miniestadi

The Batlle i Roig Arquitectes studio won the tender for the New Miniestadi, which ended last May, and will be built at the Ciutat Esportiva training ground for a cost of 12 million euros. The Batlle i Roig Arquitectes studio, which had already taken part in the architectonic design of the Ciutat Esportiva, has designed a New Miniestadi in keeping with the requirements of the tender. It will have the capacity for 6,000 spectators, adapted to UEFA category III, with covered terraces, 600 parking spaces and independently functioning from the Ciutat Esportiva. It is scheduled for opening in June 2017.

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Image of the inside of the New Palau Blaugrana.

 

 

Images courtesy: FC Barcelona.

Main image: Panoramic image of the New Palau Blaugrana.

Camp Nou’s renovation ratified by club’s members

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A 600m euro ($827m) project to renovate Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium has been given the green light by the club’s members after a referendum on Saturday, which delivered more than 72% of the votes in favour of the project.

 

“More than two thirds of the members have voted ‘yes’ to the project of a new stadium and I want to thank all the members who have exercised their right to vote,” said Club President, Josep Maria Bartomeu. He continued: “We have proposed this project thinking about the future and the next-generation of Barcelona fans.”

 

The plans for the new stadium and surrounding areas include putting a roof on Europe’s largest football stadium and increasing its capacity from 99,000 to 105,000. In addition to building a new multi-purpose indoor arena, a new stadium for the Barca B team, as well as office and parking facilities.

 

Part of the funding for the project will come from a stadium naming rights title right that will see a commercial sponsor’s name added to ‘Camp Nou’.

 

The Club insist that supporters will be able to enjoy a significantly more comfortable matchday experience than is possible in the nearly 60-year-old stadium and they are no doubt hoping that a drastic improvement to their hospitality services will create even greater income for the world’s second richest club.

 

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