FC Barcelona has retained the services of Japanese architectural and engineering firm Nikken Sekkei as the LaLiga club carries out major renovation work at its Spotify Camp Nou stadium.
Nikken Sekkei will serve as a ‘design guardian’ for the revamped stadium. The company, in conjunction with Pascual y Ausió Arquitectes, were the winners of the competition to design the new Camp Nou in 2016.
In September, Barcelona appointed the joint venture of Ingeniería Arquitectura Torrella and Ingenieros JG to direct the next construction phase for the project. The news came after it had previously been reported that locally-based Torrella had been awarded the contract ahead of Nikken Sekkei.
While Torrella was awarded the contract in a joint venture with Ingenieros JG, Barcelona confirmed at the time that it would continue working with Nikken Sekkei as a design guardian, and this relationship has now been extended.
Barcelona noted that Nikken Sekkei, together with IDOM and b720 Fermín Vázquez Arquitectos, was awarded the basic advanced project contract for the Camp Nou, with this agreement coming to an end on August 15. The club stressed that, contrary to media reports, the contract was not “terminated”.
Under the new deal, Nikken Sekkei will work with Barcelona to guarantee the continuity of the initial concept and work towards ways of integrating new proposals into the project. It will provide technical assistance to Limak Construction, the Turkish company appointed last month to carry out the redevelopment of the Camp Nou.
Nikken Sekkei will oversee the Torella-Ingenieros joint venture to assess any doubts that may arise regarding the already-presented basic project. Barcelona said the assessments of Nikken Sekkei will be key to maintaining the essence of the original winning concept.
Nikken Sekkei has previously worked on stadiums in Niigata and Kashima in its native Japan, with both venues used during the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Its portfolio also includes the Saitama Super Arena.
The revamp of the Camp Nou forms part of Barcelona’s wider Espai Barça project, which also includes the delivery of a new Palau Blaugrana arena and the wide-ranging Campus Barça development. The capacity of the Camp Nou will increase from 98,000 to 105,000 as part of the revamp.
Barcelona last week unveiled plans to pay for the Espai Barça project through a €1.5bn (£1.3bn/$1.6bn) bond issue that runs until the second half of the century. President Joan Laporta confirmed that the bonds have been certified by Morningstar Sustainalytics and will be issued on the US market in the Green Bond category.
While Laporta did not announce further details of the issue, El Economista reported that there will be three tranches, each of $500m, expiring in 2032, 2045, and 2052. The report says the first tranche will be repaid in full in 2032 and the second will be paid off in instalments. Barcelona will only pay interest on the third until 2045 and from that date it will begin to repay the principal.
Barcelona will spend the 2023-24 season at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys while the Camp Nou undergoes renovation.