Design + Architecture

Cities of the Future

by Nicola McCormack

Camp Nou Stadium, Barcelona

If you know anything about European soccer, you'll have heard of Barcelona's Camp Nou Stadium, the largest in Europe and home to the FC Barcelona team. Foster + Partners has taken on the sensitive task of remodeling this hugely beloved 1957 stadium—to the tune of $360 million—by expanding its capacity from 98,000 to 106,000; adding escalators to the upper tier; extending the roof; expanding the stadium museum, hospitality boxes, and function rooms; and more, all by 2011. Tiptoeing around the hundreds of thousands of fervent El Barça fans watching their every move, the architects have pulled off a sensitive redesign, retaining the asymmetry intended by the original architects by building around the existing structure. The real genius in this design, however, is the bold use of translucent tiles—inspired by the work of artist Antoni Gaudí—in FC Barcelona's team colors. The tiles—blue and maroon, interwoven with white, yellow, and red—will cover the whole structure, including the roof. During night games, they'll take on a glow from the floodlights within, creating a luminous symbol for the entire city.

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