Real Madrid's new stadium will be 'a Colosseum' says architect ahead of summer construction

Redevelopment of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, the iconic home of Spanish football club Real Madrid, looks set to begin in the summer.

Tristan Lopez Chicheri, managing partner at architecture firm L35, which is working on the €400m (US$429.5, £344.7m) project, confirmed the timescale in an interview with Spanish sports newspaper Marca. He revealed work will take place during off-season periods to reduce disruption to the club’s sporting schedule, with the project taking about three years to complete.

"The project is complex because it will not stop the football, and that therefore complicates the work and design,” he said. “They have to add a [retractable] roof that encloses the whole stadium.

“They’re going to lift the roof like the Romans did with the Colosseum, but with modern technology. This summer, they will raise the roof’s inner ring using hydraulic jacks, bridge technology and ski lifts.”

The stadium, which has also been designed by German studio GMP Architekten and Spanish partner Ribas & Ribas, was approved by the local council in October 2016. When complete, it will have a capacity of 90,000 – almost 5,000 more than the current amount.

Real Madrid, which is the reigning European champion, wants the stadium to become a city attraction, even on non-match days. As with the New Nou Camp – the ground being redeveloped by arch rival FC Barcelona – it will look to boost commercial activities and bring new life to the city through its leisure offerings.

“There are venues like the Bernabeu that are in the middle of the city and it is a shame that they have no life beyond 35-40 matches a year," Chicheri told Marca. “The stadium will have improved seats, boxes, matchday zones. But it will also have more restaurants and a hotel and shopping centre."

First published, by Kim Megson, 24 January 2017. Image published by CNN.