Renovation work on FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium, the epicentre of the Espai Barça project, will begin this June, as soon as the football season has ended.
The starting gun for the work has been fired after the City Council approved the award of a permit to restructure the home of the Spanish La Liga giants.
The initial work will focus on the first and second tier of the stands, technological aspects, the environs of the stadium, and exterior urbanisation.
Work inside the Camp Nou will include the demolition of the additional structure in the South Goal zone where the Medical Centre was located, restoration work, anti-carbonation and waterproofing of the stands, as well as structural finishes and the improvement and renovation of retransmission systems.
In terms of technology, the plan is to install new telecommunications connections, to relocate the data processing centre, to create a technical room for monitoring internal telecommunications infrastructures and to install new facilities for the TV Compound, for parking of mobile TV units.
There will also be actions around the stadium, including work on the Lateral Zone car park, the construction of the new smart central storage area, an experiential space for marketing the project, and the transplantation and conditioning of trees.
Third tier to be demolished in summer 2023
President Joan Laporta said recently that given the uncertainties generated by the war in Ukraine, especially with regard to the cost and availability of materials, precautions will be taken to minimise risks and protect next season’s revenue, but with the least possible impact on the works schedule.
The demolition of the third tier will therefore go ahead in the summer of 2023, which will win time given the current uncertainty of prices, and will ensure that the Camp Nou can operate at virtually full capacity next season.
Demolition any earlier would have meant having to play the 2022/23 season with just 50% of capacity.
With this change in schedule, the demolition will coincide with the relocation of Camp Nou activity to the former Olympic Stadium - Lluís Companys Stadium - in Montjuïc.
FC Barcelona and the City Council are currently working on the conditions for this move, which will only mean an increase in the duration of the works by one or two quarters, which are estimated to be completed during the 2025/26 season.
In the 2023/24 season, most of the work would be continued all year round, so the team will play at Montjuïc.
In the 2024/25 season, work will continue in the Camp Nou, but games can also be played there, albeit with the capacity reduced by approximately 50%. The work would be completed during the 2025/26 season.
The club also announced that the bidding process for works has been accelerated, with the tender opening in July and to be awarded no later than October.
A sustainable and technologically advanced stadium
The club has announced that in the coming weeks it will be presenting to the City Council the definitive modifications to the initial project.
The new Espai Barça project will incorporate new improvements in terms of sustainability, innovation, technology and accessibility, in addition to others that will maximise economic potential and, above all, minimise the effects on season ticket holders.
Sustainability is part of the DNA of the new stadium, the aim being to make the future Camp Nou a benchmark in this field.
The new plans involve a series of improvements that will have a direct positive impact on the environment and which should reduce the club's carbon footprint, boost the circular economy and enhance the biodiversity of the area.
These improvements include a commitment to promote sustainable mobility, encouraging the use of public transport and promoting electric mobility, as up to 60% of parking spaces will be electrified, including spaces designated for bicycles and other Personal Mobility Vehicles (PMV).
In the same vein, energy saving and efficiency will also be promoted with the installation of 18,000 m2 of photovoltaic panels on the new roof, to generate electricity equivalent to about 600 homes in the Eixample, and the use of green energy stored underground, to reduce heating and cooling consumption.
In addition, a geothermal system and a District Heating & Cooling system will be installed, which will reduce energy costs by 30%, and the rainwater collected from the roof will be reused to water all the plants in the future campus 10 times a year.
The future Camp Nou will incorporate state-of-the-art technologies, including a 360º screen inside the ‘bowl’ that will offer a new fan experience.
The security and vehicle access control systems will also be improved and maximum use will be made of the possibilities offered by 5G connectivity.
The club has the funding to invest in this work and is continuing its efforts to ensure the best general financing operation for the Espai Barça project for an amount that will never be any more than 1.5 billion euros.
PSAM editor John Sheehan caught up with Yves De Cocker, Managing Director of PitchTecConcept, who explains how his company bridges the gap between sports organisations and the technology used in the playing surface industry.
The interview covers:
Yves 20+ years industry leading experience in the evolution of hybrid grass, trends he has noticed and some of the notable projects he has been involved with
The key reasons for Yves launching PitchTecConcept
Common mistakes often made with playing surface management
The steps he offers as a bridge between the industry and the end user
Advice to clubs looking to maximise their event calendars without compromising on the performance of their playing surface