Camp Nou seating to rise to 105,000 by 2021-22 season

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Europe's biggest stadium will be bigger within five years, when the Camp Nou will seat more than 100,000 people under a roof that rings the entire area.

A joint bid by Japanese company Nikken Sekkei and a Catalan studio headed by architects Joan Pascual and Ramon Ausio won the tender to remodel the home of Barcelona, and the project will be presented publicly in a few weeks.

Seating will increase from 99,354 to 105,000. Work is scheduled to start in the 2017-18 season, and will not keep the club from hosting games.

The majority of fans are exposed to rain, sun, and wind, but in the updated stadium, "all seats will be covered and protected from adverse weather," Barcelona said, adding that all seats will be replaced and spacing between them will be improved.

The top tier capacity will be increased, and it will have an even height throughout the stadium. One side is currently higher than the others.

The winning proposal stood out "for being open, elegant, serene, timeless Mediterranean and democratic," and a "silent and powerful tribute to the stadium built by Francesc Mitjans in 1957," Barcelona said on Wednesday.

The area underneath the grandstands will be open and visible from the outside. The current facade walls will be removed.

"It is a unique solution, reproducing the characteristic vision of the grandstand and canopy, from the inside out," Barcelona said.

New giant video screens will also be installed.

The club said Nikken Sekkei was responsible for the design the Saitama Super Arena, the Big Swan Stadium in Niigata, and the Tokyo Dome, all in Japan. The Catalan studio has a "long and proven history of experience" in residential buildings, office blocks, and hotels in Barcelona.

Their bid was among eight finalists out of 26 entrants for the tender. The teams had to be composed of one international studio and a local one.