César Azcárate, director of sports and events at international engineering and architecture company IDOM, has hailed the completion of an “impressive challenge” after Spanish LaLiga football club Villarreal returned to its new-look Estadio de la Cerámica.
Villarreal defeated Valencia 2-1 in its first match back at its home, a LaLiga encounter that took place on New Year’s Eve. Work commenced on May 16 after Villarreal presented plans earlier in the month for what it claimed would be the greatest transformation project in the history of the stadium.
Estadio de la Cerámica has been Villarreal’s home since the Castellón club was founded in 1923, with the redevelopment project focusing on overhauling its appearance rather than expanding its capacity.
Led by IDOM and local construction company Alviben, the capacity of the new “modern and avant-garde” Estadio de la Cerámica remains at 22,000 spectators.
This is despite the construction of a new stand in the corner of the stadium between the Preferencia and Fondo Sur stands, therefore achieving the complete enclosure of the facility. Villarreal said it has instead granted more space between seats in the Preferencia stand in order to enhance the experience for fans in that area of the stadium.
Amongst other elements of the redevelopment is ensuring all areas of the stadium have a roof above them, while all seats have been replaced. Two 21×7 metre video scoreboards have been installed, along with a new public address system and LED lighting.
Villarreal had been playing its 2022-23 home games at Estadi Ciutat de València, the stadium of Segunda División club Levante, whilst work was taking place. At the time of May’s announcement, a €35m (£30.8m/$37.1m) price tag was attached to the project, but this has since swollen to €50m.
Azcárate told the club’s official website: “It has been an impressive challenge because it was not easy to achieve it. We have taken advantage of the World Cup break to give it a very big push. We have done it in record time thanks to the collaboration of everyone.”
He continued: “The project has two aspects. One is the project itself, which was not easy. It is a project to give a unitary image to the Estadio de la Cerámica. The objective was to empower it by giving it identity. But really the most difficult thing was to combine that project with the work.
“We have had to use the fast-track model, which is to carry out the projects at the same time as the work. This has been achieved thanks to the harmony of all the parties involved. Remodelling is always more difficult than building from scratch. It is much more difficult to achieve the objectives.”
The finishing touches to the project will be made through to March as Villarreal celebrates its centenary this year. This work will include the creation of new interior spaces. A multi-purpose room will be developed at the top of the Fondo Sur with views of the pitch, the Entrelíneas Restaurant will be completely renovated and a new space will be created for the club museum. Photovoltaic panels will also be installed on the roof for renewable energy generation.
Azcárate added: “The truth is that it is turning out as we imagined it. We want to make it unitary and give it that space that it previously lacked due to the buildings that were attached to it. Thousands of metres of surface have been released for the city itself. Inside, the design will now make the stadium a pressure cooker. We have about three months left to finish the work. It will be then when it is perfect.”