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Brits lose out in Camp Nou contest

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Nikken Sekkei and Pascual i Ausió Arquitectes have won an international competition to expand Barcelona Football Club’s iconic Camp Nou stadium

The joint Japanese and Spanish bid defeated rival submissions from UK stadium designers AFL and Populous to win the high-profile commission. AJ120 practice KSS, the original running mate with Barcelona-based Mateo Arquitectura, pulled out of the race.

The proposals are set to expand the stadium’s capacity from 98,000 to 105,000 spectators.

Among the plans are a new roof, a new, steeper first tier of terracing and a ring of boxes and restaurants overlooking the pitch, along with what are called ‘superboxes’ and other VIP services between the first and second tiers.

According to a statement from the club, the winning bid stood out ‘for being open, elegant, serene, timeless, Mediterranean and democratic.’

The statement continued: 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 full shortlist

  • Aecom and B720 Arquitectes
  • Arup Sport and Taller D’Aquitectura Ricardo Bofill
  • BIG, IDOM and BAAS Arquitectes
  • Gensler Sport and OAB
  • HKS, COX, and Batlle i Roig Arquitectes
  • AFL and Mateo Arquitectura
  • Nikken Sekkei and Joan Pascual i Ramon Ausió Arquitectes
  • Populous, Mias Arquitectes and RCR Arquitectes

The announcement comes a month after HOK’s London office defeated the likes of Make, Dominique Perrault and Wilkinson Eyre to win a separate contest for a new multi-sport arena for the club.

The AJ120 practice is working with local practice TAC Arquitectes on its design for the 10,000 capacity basketball, roller hockey and handball venue - a replacement for the smaller 7,500 seat Palau Blaugrana [’Blue and dark red palace’] built in 1971.

Work on the new Palau Blaugrana is expected to start in the 2017/18 season and complete by 2020.

Nikken Sekkei had been working with Zaha Hadid Architects on the firm’s competition-winning Tokyo Olympic Stadium before the scheme was axed by the Japanese government last summer. Kengo Kuma won a subsequent contest for the 80,000-seat venue in December

Foster + Partners had originally been lined up to work on Barcelona FC’s new stadium but the project ran into funding trouble (see AJ 21.01.14).

The architect behind Wembley Stadium first revealed its competition-winning scheme for the Catalan club back in 2007 - a £174 million expansion project which would have added an upper tier underneath a new cable-net roof structure.

In 2014 the club’s board decided to start again, but dismissed the idea of building a totally new ground.

The Camp Nou has been Barcelona FC’s stadium since 1957. Designed by architects Francesc Mitjans Miró and Josep Soteras Mauri, the 55,000m² stadium cost a whopping 288 million pesetas and its construction plunged the club into debt.

Construction is expected to begin in 2017 with the upgraded Camp Nou stadium set to complete in 2021.


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