New RCD Espanyol Football Stadium

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New RCD Espanyol Football Stadium
RCD ESPANYOL Following their exile from their former home, Sarriá, passing through temporary residence at the citys Olympic Stadium, the Espanyols loyal supporters were finally able to celebrate the opening a stadium they could consider as their Home. This most important of events was marked on August 2nd with a grand opening and successful pre-season encounter against another historic opponent, Liverpool FC of the English Premier League. Design Competition The new stadium site was finally located within the district of Cornellá-El Prat , with the Clubs President, Daniel sanchez Lliure, finally reaching agreement with the City of Barcelona on the 18th of January 2001 to develop the site for the new stadium complex. The final stadium design came about from an international competition including HOK, Jean Nouvel, Arquitectónica and RFA Fenwick Iribarren with the latter being announced as winners in March 2003. RFA Fenwick Iribarren had been working on a number of sports projects at the time, however this project was their first commission to build thus permitting RFA to portray their interpretation of sport as a typology with emphasis on its iconic nature. With the Madrid 2016 Olympic Bid and other future events on the horizon, this architectural typology was seen as an opportunity as well as something the firm could enjoy developing – hence it marked a concerted step forward in the companies architectural policy. Cost effective Design The Reid Fenwick / Gasulla Bid was viewed favourably by the Stadium Owners, completely privately funded, due to its cost-effective solutions and clear understanding in administering time and cost. The design ethos was marked by a rational and clear approach seeking to design elements to have a double function e.g. façade, roof. The final Cost of the 40,000 capacity stadium , within budget, approached €62 million amounting to €1,500 per seat, becaming a reference for modern stadium costs. Special attention was also placed in the Tender process to avoid any cost increases reverting back to the Club. As well as a cost effective new stadium it was intended to become the clubs new symbol and icon that the supporters could be proud of. This was characterised by creating the ¨Cauldron¨ effect, typified by the traditional British stadiums that hugged the pitch touchline, which marked the architectural and acoustic objectives of the design. RFA Fenwick Iribarren believes this attention to functionality and affordability is a mark of a social responsibility not always considered in new football stadium design. Project Brief The original design was adapted to meet the new objectives to achieve the new Elite status requiring a permanent capacity of over 40,000 whilst meeting the UEFA criteria governing provisions for security, media/broadcasting, medical facilities, VIP´s, as well as facilities for Teams and Officials. The stadium seats have uninterrupted views of the playing field with up to 95% under cover of the roof, itself supported by four beams extending 230 and 160 metres along the Stands, characterised by the large expanse of its flat metal clad surface. Sustainability and the environment The Espanyol’s new stadium is the first to have a roof-mounted solar panel system installed in Spain and will be the biggest installation in Europe to date. Installed by Spanish company Abasol, the first phase of the project covering both the North and South Stand roofs is now already in place with 2,720 individual solar panels assembled in 136 rows, covering a combined area of over 9,000m2. The system is expected to generate Espanyol more than €217,000 in revenue during its first year of operation, whilst the savings to the environment have been calculated at an estimated 360 tonnes of CO2 each year. In addition to this system, RFA Fenwick Iribarren feels that the sustainability theme has been followed throughout the whole stadium design. Other initiatives include rainwater collection for pitch irrigation, water-free urinals and recycling shower water for toilets. Many Passive and Active measures are integrated in order to achieve a sustainable stadium within a responsible cost profile. Symbolism and Iconography Football is not just about creating a building where people come and watch the game. There is a whole issue of emotion and symbolism, that stadiums are the modern cathedrals. Like cathedrals, stadiums take structure and technology to the limits, and like cathedrals they also have the ceremony. People go to participate, not just watch, so understanding the emotions of people going to football adds a touch that many studios who are just looking at the design of the building aren’t aware of. A key element of this symbolism can be seen in the colours of the façade, which has been designed as a floating curtain wall and uses varying tones of blue, Espanyol’s traditional club colours, which in turn brings alive the interior spaces. Commercial viability The ability for Espanyol’s new stadium to generate extra revenue was another key element of its design with the commercial elements becoming a key factor in the stadiums viability. The new stadium features three levels of hospitality; the Presidents Club offering the highest levels of service, the Executive Club including 36 corporate boxes and a tier of business seats with the ability to be converted into suites. The corners of the building are utilised for commercial purposes, incorporating the Clubs offices, a large shop and club museum. Two of the corners have also been set aside for commercial ventures for lease - one of them, unusually, being a funeral parlour, and the other a hotel which is linked directly to the executive boxes and restaurant area to maximise non-matchday usage. Work on another much larger commercial development is already underway. In principle RFA Fenwick Iribarren has designed a stadium which looks to create an exciting architectural building, a stadium with acoustical excellence, which functions well every day of the year and which evokes the symbolism of the club. It is a design of care and respect for the club and for their fans, and the end result has been magnificent from all of the team involved.


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