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Building Big: huge arena projects for Barcelona and Verona


Big upgrades are planned for two big and iconic European venues, one nearly 2000 years old, and the other approaching 60: a proposed retractable and removable roof for Verona's Roman arena, now used for opera, and an upgraded stadium for the FC Barcelona soccer team.

A Japanese architect's design has been chosen for a major rebuilding of Camp Nou, home of the Spanish and European soccer champion. Nikken Sekkei, which has long experience building stadiums in Japan, was chosen from a field of 26. The design was described by the club as "open, elegant, serene, timeless, Mediterranean and democratic." That's a lot of work for one stadium!

Construction, to begin next year and be finished in time for the 2021 season, will increase the stadium's seating from 99,000 to 105,000 and add amenities including better sight lines. The team will play in the stadium during construction. During playing season, outside work will be done; the interior work will be done between seasons. The project is estimated at €420 million, half of which may be covered by selling naming rights.

aP1030430In Verona, meanwhile, a prize pool of €100,000 has been offered by Verona-based underwear company Calzedonia for an architectural competition for a roof for the 15,000 seat Roman Arena, which hosts concerts and Verona's summer open-air opera season. Because it's open-air, the season is short, and subject to unexpected weather cancellations.

The plan follows a recent trend of Italian companies funding restoration or improvement of public monuments where government funding has failed. Last year the fashion house Fendi paid for major renovations of Rome's Trevi Fountain, and Bulgari is paying for a makeover of the Spanish Steps.

Photos: top, Camp Nou architect's concept / lower, opera set under construction in Verona's arena


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