The City of Madrid has announced an international contest for a £9.6 million overhaul of the abandoned Beti Jai pelota arena
The competition will select a team to restore and reconfigure the disused pelota venue, known locally as a fronton, which last hosted a match almost 100 years ago.
The project will transform the J-shaped, Joaquín Rucoba-designed stadium into a landmark facility for pelota, a sport that originated in the Basque Country and is played against a large wall using a racket, wooden bat or basket.
According to the brief: ‘The object of the present contest is the selection of the team for the drafting of the basic project and execution and direction of the works of adaptation and rehabilitation of the Beti Jai pediment.
‘The winner of the competition will receive a prize of €20,000, plus the commission for the execution project and the management of the works for an amount equivalent to 10 per cent of the project value, estimated at €11 million. The two contestants classified after the winner of the contest (second and third prize) will each receive a prize of €3,000.’
The Beti Jai fronton is around 1.8km north-east of the city centre and was constructed in a Moorish Revival architectural style in the 1894, but fell into ceased operating as a sports venue 25 years later.
The iconic Joaquín Rucoba-designed arena was later used as a police station during the Spanish Civil War before being converted into a Citroën garage in the later 20th century. Since the 1990s, various restoration projects have failed to materialise, leaving the historic venue in local government stewardship.
The latest project aims to restore the ruined 10,800m² complex – which can hold up to 4,000 spectators – and create a landmark new venue for the dramatic sport in which balls can travel at up to 200km per hour.
The overall winner will receive around £17,500 and a design contract to deliver the project. A second prize and third prize of approximately £2,600 will also be awarded.
The competition language is Spanish and the deadline for applications is 16 August.
How to apply
View the contract notice for more information
City of Madrid
C / Montalbán
1, 2nd floor
Tel: +34 915880021
Fax: +34 915881172