The competition for the design of the Nou Camp Nou (new new stadium) of F.C. Barcelona has been keeping busy the most important Catalan architects and some of the world wide famous architecture offices. Finally, the proposal of NIKKEN SEKKEI + Joan Pascual i Ramon Ausió Arquitectes was chosen by the jury for being the most polyvalent and having an accurate planning of execution. The Barcelona Club stated that although the project might not be the most spectacular, its functionality was more convenient than other possibilities. Its most distinctive feature will be the lack of a consistent skin and, therefore, the exposition of its internal use and functioning to the outside.
Nikken Sekkei is a Japanese architecture and engineering office leading in Asia, well-known for its technical solidity. It developed the project of the Saitama Super Arena among others. Their local partners, Joan Pascual I Ramon Ausió, have a great experience of residential projects, office buildings and hotels in Barcelona, like the Zero Diagonal Hotel.
However, the main characteristic of the project, previous to the architecture offices proposals, is possibly the decision of re-using the existing building and deciding to develop a project of reconstruction instead of a completely new building. Is it the result of a new era in which architects will finally understand the value of the existent and new icons will also have the possibility of being the result of a reconstruction?
Statement of the President of the Club Josep Maria Bartomeu
“Today we have taken one step further in the development of the Espai Barça which the members voted for in a referendum. We began a few months ago with the awarding of Miniestadi project, which is already underway, and now the jury has gathered to choose the finalists — eight teams of architects for the New Camp Nou and six for the New Palau Blaugrana. It was hard work, we reviewed many documents and many proposals, and I think we made a good choice and I am very grateful to the jury and their work. It is an independent jury, with experts in the world of architecture, engineering, construction, and thanks to them we can say that we are now starting this second phase, which is very important to the Espai Barça. We are very satisfied with the level of studies presented and we believe that those chosen include many of the best firms in the world that do this kind of sports architecture and in time we will see the fruits. Now we have to wait a few months to see the finalists’ proposals and reconvene the jury.”
AECOM + B720 Architects
AECOM is one of the most important offices regarding sportive architecture. Its design team developed the Guangdong Olympic stadium. The local partner is the office B720, leaded by the architect Fermín Vázquez, well-known for having designed the “Agbar Tower” or the Market of “Els Encants”.
ARUP SPORT+TALLER D’ARQUITECTURA RICARDO BOFILL
Arup is a leading firm in the world of construction engineering, with a special department of sportive architecture that has developed, among others, the Singapore Sport Hub and the Beijing Olympic Stadium. The Catalan architecture office collaborating with them is Ricardo Bofill’s, author of T1 of the Barcelona airport and the W Hotel.
BIG +IDOM+BAAS Architects
BIG, Barjke Ingels Group is one of the most important architecture studios in the world. It is developing many projects around the world, like google corporative site in California or the second Tower of the World Trade Center in New York. Their local partner for this competition is the Catalan studio of Jordi Badia, BAAS, which lately has developed rehabilitation as a central specialization of the office, like the Can Framis Museum of Barcelona.
GENSLER is an American firm with high standing in the field of architecture and engineering. It has participated in many stadiums like the Lincoln Financial Field expansion in Philadelphia or the New Stadium of Corinthians in Brazil. Their local partner was the OAB studio, leaded by Carles Ferrater, with a wide local and international reputation and projects developed as important as the Palace of Congresses of Catalonia or the Mediapro building.
HKS+COX+Batlle I Roig Architects
HKS is also an American office with an impressing experience in the field of sportive architecture. It has developed projects like the Dallas Cowboys stadium and is currently working on the Minnesota Vikings stadium. The second partner of this competition team was the Australian architecture office COX, which developed the project of the AAMI Park stadium or the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. Finally, their local collaborator was the team of Batlle I Roig Arquitectes, one of the Catalan studios that has received more awards lately.
AFL + Mateo Architecture
AFL Architects is one of the most important offices of British architect specialized in sportive architecture that works for clubs like Liverpool FC, Manchester United FC and Chelsea FC. It is currently developing the new stadium for the Athletics Ashgabat in Turkmenistan. The competition team includes the architecture office Mateo, leaded by the architect Josep Lluís Mateo, with a deep knowledge on the field of rehabilitation, like the Ninot Market in Barcelona.
POPULOUS + Mias Architects + RCR Architects
Populous is a very prestigious firm that participated in the project of the Olympic Stadium of London, the Aviva Stadium in Dublin or the Emirates Stadium in London. The office of Josep Mias has developed projects like the corporative building of iGuzzini in Barcelona or the Barceloneta Market. The team is completed with RCR architects, with a very creative portfolio of projects, like the Restaurant “Les Cols”.
Although the winning project might transmit reliability for its technical and functional perspective, the process of selection was probably less clear. In fact, the name of the winner was published in a local newspaper before the official presentation of the finalists. This event attracted some critics from the participants and left the rest of us with the uncertainty of competitions processes transparency and justice.