published in sb 2/2018
Atlético Madrid’s new Wanda Metropolitano stadium by Cruz y Ortiz arquitectos in collaboration with engineers Schlaich Bergermann Partner is the result of the extension of the old athletics stadium of 1994. Apart from the completion of the stands, the most striking alteration of the structure is already visible from a distance: the canopy inspired by the spoked wheel principle is dynamically placed over the stands and, thanks to its cantilevered form, not only protects the main stands but also creates a roof with a large overhang.
The old building had been designed to host athletics meetings and football matches and had an approximate capacity of 19,000 spectators. CyO received the commission to boost its capacity to 68,000 spectators and thus turn it into a football stadium with the 5-star rating awarded by UEFA making it eligible to host European competition finals.
The new stadium’s footprint measures 54,537 m² and the entire grounds cover 88,150 m². With the new extension, CyO proposed a double design objective: firstly, that it retains its familiar, iconic image and, secondly, that the extension combines harmoniously with the old design.
Close to the touchline
In the design of the new stadium, one priority has been to make sure the spectator has good visibility and proximity to the pitch and the players, whilst complying rigorously with UEFA and FIFA recommendations regarding uses. The closest point to the touchline is in the north-eastern corner where the stands will be barely 5.89 m from the pitch. The extension also imposes a series of very specific conditions regarding technical requirements like safety in the event of evacuation and the requirements necessitated by the atmosphere that football matches generate.
The concrete, which is responsible for the load-bearing structure of the building and its final form, contributes to the main characteristic of uniformity and homogeneity.
The new football pitch was built lower than the original pitch to bring spectators closer to the pitch without disturbing visibility conditions. The most important uses of the stadium have been accommodated in the original stand, given its symbolic nature, such as the area for players, presidency, VIPs and the press.
In the extended area, as well as providing the necessary spaces for services for spectators such as bars, toilets, and shops, the construction of two underground floors has been planned, the first of which responds to the needs of the lower stands and parking while the second is intended solely for parking. The stadium provides 4,000 parking spaces for fans (1,000 inside the building and 3,000 outside.)
Extension of the stands
The original stadium initially only had a stand on the west side. The extended stadium now has a complete ring of stands surrounding the entire pitch as is normal for football stadiums: the lower stand, the middle stand, a little higher up, and the upper or third stand. Between the second and the third there is a space for the private boxes.
CyO opted for the solution in which the stands would not be accessed via corridors but through the upper part of the last row. This means that, from the waiting areas, spectators enjoy a full view of the pitch on their way to their seats. In this way, a full view of the stadium, an all-around audience and an audience very close to the pitch have been achieved in order to generate plenty of atmosphere during the match.
The roof is one of the iconic elements of the new stadium and was realised in collaboration with engineers Schlaich Bergermann Partner. For CyO the roof is the formally important element that completes the stadium. It is a harmonising element that unites both parts, the first or former part and the extension, covering the whole of the new building and all spectator areas. The roof measures roughly 286 m from north to south and 248 m from east to west. Its total surface area is around 46,500 m².
The main structure of the roof is composed of an exterior double compression ring of steel and an interior double traction ring and two groups of radial cables. The net thus formed is covered using tightened membranes on the warped quadrilateral formed of a high cable and another lower one corresponding to consecutive brackets. The distance between the compression and traction rings is approximately 57 m. Both rings are doubles, allowing the necessary height of the roof to be divided in two.
From the compression ring some cantilevers have been produced by tightened membranes that reach the outer perimeter of the old stand and extend around the whole stadium. Its wavy shape and variable height generate a certain movement to adapt to the needs of the building. The outer gutter is red (a colour associated with Atlético Madrid) and its visibility as well as the hiding of this red colour throughout the perimeter is important to define the image of the stadium. The result of this process is a light roof that protects 96% of the spectators of the stadium and rests on the stands like a big blanket adapting to different situations and uniting the old with the new. Its design is included in the typology of tensile structures.
All of this is covered by membranes of fibre glass and PFTE, a translucent material that has been used in other large stadiums like Maracanã and the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. The design of the roof also helps to retain and amplify the sound coming from the stands. In order for more sun to reach the grass, the structure does not cover the pitch. To ensure the best possible lighting, the floodlights are integrated into the interior ring of the roof. In relation to the pitch, the roof has a minimum height of 45 m and a maximum of 57 m.
Cameras and internet
The stadium has a series of camera systems intended to offer television operators and spectators quality broadcasting, reinterpreting the broadcasting of matches. The stadium has 96 preconnected points for sports broadcasts to meet the needs of the cameras of the different operators participating in a sports broadcast. These 96 points are distributed all over the stadium to provide complete coverage.
Moreover, the stadium includes other important systems, not related to television broadcasts, such as goal-line technology obligatory in European competitions and the tactical and media coach camera systems designed to obtain technical data from the games.
Spectators have internet access from their seats as well as from anywhere inside the building. 1200 WiFi aerials have been positioned in the stands to give internet access to spectators. Spectators shall be able to access information on the match in real time as well serving as transmitters of information by streaming through social media.
Lighting for home team
The functional, decorative and emergency lighting is all 100% LED. The architectural lighting has been executed with LED RGB lights that allow the architectural elements to be tinted in any colour. These lights are controlled by a programmable system and thus permit the variation of the lighting depending on the information that the club wants to transmit, e.g. when Atlético scores a goal.
The interior VIP spaces will also have a light control system that allows independent scenes to be generated in each room, adapting each space to the needs of the moment.
Video scoreboards and ribbon board
All four screens use exclusively LED technology. They are composed of three video scoreboards (north, east and south) and an all-round screen located under the edge of the middle stand. The latter constitutes a novelty in Spain, as it is the first 360º screen installed in a stadium.