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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.