At the end of last Sunday’s member’s assembly, Real Madrid chairman Florentina Pérez had a little surprise for the socios. These were four models of four different proposals for the redevelopment of Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.
The models had been vigorously kept secret up to the point that nobody was allowed to bring a mobile phone into the room where they stood. They will now be showcased to the fans, who will then be able to provide feedback on their preference.
We recently already dedicated an article on Florentino Pérez’s ambitions to turn the Bernabéu into a world class arena. In order to generate more income, the chairman wants to extensively redevelop the exterior of the stadium and provide all seats with cover. While extra seats may be added around the upper tier and thus raise capacity, the existing stands will undergo few changes.
During the meeting, Pérez added that he wants the stadium to be an “architectural icon” and “one of the most emblematic buildings of Madrid and the world”.
The four proposals come from four renowned architecture firms (plus Spanish partners). The following video gives a quick impression:
There are some conflicting accounts on the match-up of the models with the architects, but we think we have the combination right now after earlier reporting a different match.
The first proposal comes from the threesome of German firm GMP Architekten, Spanish firm L35, and Spanish firm Ribas. GMP’s impressive portfolio includes the Commerzbank-Arena, Warsaw‘s and Bucharest‘s recently completed new national stadiums, and a few World Cup stadiums currently under construction in Brazil.
Their proposal looks like this:
It is the only of the four designs that makes clear that the stadium has a retractable roof and how it (more or less) functions.
The second proposal comes from Norman Foster, who has partnered up with Rafael de La-Hoz. Both do not have the biggest portfolio if it comes to football stadiums, though Foster has worked on Wembley Stadium and once designed something crazy for Camp Nou, but both count among the world’s best architects.
What stands out are the open spaces between the stands and roof, and the upper decks that provide for a view over the city of Madrid.
The third proposal comes from Herzog & De Meuron, who have worked together with Rafael Moneo. We know Herzog & De Meuron from their designs of the Allianz Arena, St. Jakob Park, and the future Bordeaux stadium, whereas Rafael Moneo is one of Spain’s leading architects.
The exterior has a transparent and airy appearance, and what also strikes is that the top of the stands has the waving shape that is so common in modern stadiums these days. This also likely means an increase in capacity.
Finally, the fourth proposal comes from Spanish firm Estudio Lamela and the well-known Populous. The former has long been a partner of Real Madrid in the development of the Bernabéu, while the latter is responsible for the likes of the Emirates Stadium, Aviva Stadium, Estádio da Luz, and the under construction Grand Stade OL.
The key feature here seems to be a giant 360-degree video screen that circles over the top tier, and which is being advertised as “the best screen in the world”.
The architects have only handed in their model and have not given their pitch yet, which means that few concrete details are known and that one can only make some guesses based on the images provided.
An online survey by Madrid newspaper Marca showed that most Madrid fans seem to prefer the Foster proposal, followed by the Herzog & De Meuron one.
Florentino Pérez wants to start building next summer, and expects works to last for two to three years. No schedule has been provided yet on when the club will choose one of the proposals, but further announcements will likely follow soon.
[CORRECTION] We have had to make some changes to the article based on some information we have received after publishing. These most of all involve the matching of the models to the architects.