Renovating an iconic sports facility such as Camp Nou, the FC Barcelona stadium, is not a simple task, but the use of digital tools can make things easier
Camp Nou was originally built in 1957 and the stadium’s last significant extension plan dates back to 1980. A series of small changes followed, including the addition of the FC Barcelona museum in 1988 and the work to replace some standing areas with seating in 1994.
Due to the financial crisis of 2000s, it was only in 2014 that the club decided to proceed with the expansion and improvement of existing structures. The current capacity of the Camp Nou is 99.354 seats.
At the beginning of the project study, in absence of digitalised information on the venue, the team of designers relied only on scans of 3D images of the structure.
Although it was a useful starting point, however, human intervention was needed to insert other technical elements differing from load-bearing walls in the data system. By introducing this information, architects and engineers have been able to obtain dimensions, materials, safety criteria and a number of other details that will be useful during the construction phase.
Therefore, the re-design plan implied that the current building had to be reconstructed in digital form with a series of simulations, including crowd modelling to ensure the suitability of the project. Basically, thanks to BIM (Building Information Modeling), 4D planning (duration analysis) was used to carry out the stadium construction works, respecting, at the same time, the company's request to remain operational during the football season.
The transformation of the Camp Nou is expected to cost 798 million dollars. Construction works started in 2018 and should be completed in 2022.
Future Camp Nou revealed
FC Barcelona is a club owned by its "socis", ie members of the Club. The Club is run by an Executive Committee democratically elected by Socis. By respecting this democratic system, Camp Nou is seen both as a stadium owned by a football team and as a highly public facility open to the citizens of Barcelona.
Given the mild Mediterranean climate in Barcelona, removing the façade would make the stadium more "open". The third-level atrium overlooking the exterior of the stadium will become a pleasant space where people can enjoy the outdoor breeze.
The open terrace will offer panoramic views of the city and, conversely, the activities that will take place on the terrace can also be seen from the city.
The third seating tier will also be completed, thus increasing the capacity to 105,000, while adding a 50,000 m² roof cover. The third tier will include a public platform called "Rambla", named after Barcelona famous central avenue, with all parking transferred to the underground level so that the areas at ground floor can be freed up for public space.
The area around the stadium is designed to allow people to enter the premises more freely. The perfect connectivity between the surrounding urban fabric and the stadium will contribute to a greater sense of openness.
The Barça Space project
It is an overall, balanced and integrated project that benefits both the club and the city: the area is destined to become an open space, without barriers, with green areas and urban use. But it will also be compatible with the needs of the club: the renovation of Camp Nou and the construction of a new Palau Blaugrana.
The Barça Space project, in fact, was designed to upgrade the sports infrastructure of FC Barcelona for the next 50 years so as to ensure that the excellent game is reflected in future facilities.
The main steps of the project include the construction of Nou Miniestadi at the Barcelona training center in Sant Joan Despí (SJD), 8 km away, which replaces the current Miniestadi with the Nou Palau Blaugrana. By separating the New Camp Nou (or Futur Camp Nou, as the designers called it) and the Nou Palau Blaugrana and building about 3,500 parking spaces underground, the fundamental idea is to have a campus dedicated to sports that everyone can access every day of the year.