EXCLUSIVE: Lead architect on FC Barcelona's Palau Blaugrana project reveals details of mixed-use project and how sports design is changing

by Kim Megson | 18 Mar 2016

One of the lead architects behind the New Palau Blaugrana – a multi-sports and concert arena for FC Barcelona’s €600m Espai Barca district – has told CLAD how the venue's design will generate activity for 365 days a year.

In an exclusive interview, John Rhodes, director of sports architects HOK and a lead designer on the Barcelona project, revealed how the design will bring traditional amenities, such as bars and restaurants, outdoors while also facilitating a connection to the larger district with an ice rink, 2,000 capacity auxiliary court and two football fields.

“We wanted to respond to the wonderful Mediterranean climate and leverage it to an arena experience,” he said. “To do this, we've looked to create a public realm around the building so spectators can move around the outside of the building in a controlled environment.

"This gives the club the opportunity to ticket people at the entrance to the public realm, rather than the entrance to the building.

"It means the club can start pulling out some of the concessions outside, rather than have them all within the concourse spaces inside.

"Our starting point was to build a venue which people go to experience and there have been a couple of unique approaches to the design. The existing Palau is a very intimate venue, which the fans are very proud of. We wanted to take the essence of it – its energy – and make it bigger.”

Rhodes said there was a new trend emerging in global sports design – one which promotes activity and revenue-generation to ensure sports facilities can be used in a myriad of ways all year round.

Last week, Bjarke Ingels Group revealed their first major stadium design: a new home ground for NFL franchise the Washington Redskins. The design is also intended to promote mixed-use events on non-match days, and includes a moat for surfers, kayakers and ice skaters, an artificial stretch of beach and stadium walls which can be abseiled down.

Ingels said: “The one thing that everybody is excited about is the idea that the stadium is designed as much for pre-game events as the game itself, and we have found a way to make the stadium a more lively destination throughout the year.”

A similar approach was taken by architect Populous for the Parc Olympique Lyonnais stadium in France, which opened in January. The design includes a large new area of public space which hosts pop-up events and a green car parking area that serves as a park on non-match days.

The New Palau Blaugrana’s main sports hall has a capacity for 10,000 spectators and is sat within a large bowl. It will primarily host FC Barcelona’s handball and basketball offshoots. A connected campus will serve the club’s football academy, FCB Escola.

The Espai Barca district is described by the club as “the most important sports project in Europe and the world.” It will also contain the Camp Nou stadium – which is being expanded by Japanese architects Nikken Sekkei and Spanish studio Pascual i Ausió Arquitectes – and a 6,000-capacity UEFA category III Miniestadi for its youth teams.

Palau Blaugrana  FC Barcelona  HOK  architecture  sports design 
Related stories

REVEALED: Bjarke Ingels' first NFL stadium will be surrounded by a moat for surfing

FC Barcelona selects Nikken Sekkei to redesign Nou Camp

Barcelona FC unveil New Palau Blaugrana and set out plans for €600m sports district

HOK win architecture competition to design multi-sports arena for Barcelona FC

Are Bjarke Ingels Group designing their first NFL stadium?

Populous complete Euro 2016 stadium in Lyon

One of the lead architects behind the New Palau Blaugrana – a multi-sports and concert arena for FC Barcelona’s €600m Espai Barca district – has told CLAD how the venue's design will generate activity for 365 days a year. In an exclusive interview, John Rhodes, director of sports architects HOK and a lead designer on the Barcelona project, revealed how the design will bring traditional amenities, such as bars and
The New Palau Blaugrana will host FC Barcelona’s handball and basketball offshoots and includes a campus for the club’s football academy, FCB Escola / HOK
More news
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7010     
News stories: 1 - 30 of 7010     
company profile
Company profile: TVS Group
The TVS Group supply and install sports and fitness flooring to a wide range of facilities. We cater for every type of exercise and every level of competition, from recreational to elite level performance.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
The fog sculpture at 140 West Plaza in Downtown Chapel Hill, US
Mikyoung Kim
"Nature isn’t rigid. It’s open-ended; that’s its beauty"

The Boston-based landscape architect on blending art and science to design creative spaces that bring communities closer

Mahdavi designed pastel interiors for the recently opened Laduree store and cafe in Tokyo
After working for Christian Liaigre in Paris, Mahdavi launched her practice in 1999
"I never thought it was a talent. I just did it very naturally, without thinking"

The ‘queen of colour’ on her nomadic childhood, being fearless and choosing the exact right shade of pink for the Sketch Gallery restaurant

The hacienda’s original crumbling walls form a key part of the design
"True luxury is about preserving the soul of an incredible destination"

KimMegsonvisitstheaward-winning ChabléYucatánResort&Spa

The interior of the theatre
"It would be great if today’s men left as a legacy for the future some architectural and humanistic monuments for the next hundred, three hundred, one thousand years"

BrunelloCucinelli has madehisfortune from cashmere and has used hiswealthto restoreandrevive theItalian hamlet he callshome. Wefindout more

The future for the Erie Canal is being assessed
"Infrastructure is the manifestation of our collective investment in the functioning of our urban places"

FromLA'sRiver Projectto thetransformationof NewYork’s Erie CanalBuro Happold'sAliceShay explores some of the world's mostinnovativeadaptivereuseprojects

Interview: Dror Benshetrit and Di-Ann Eisnor
Dror Benshetrit and Di-Ann Eisnor will head up the team
"We will work to fuse nature, design, technology, and community in our cities in order to measurably improve the lives of citizens"

High profile design hirings for the We Company

cladkit product news
Volvo partners with Reef Lab Designs to encourage ocean biodiversity
The tiles are made from marine-grade concrete and recycled plastic fibres
Lauren Heath-Jones
Car manufacturer Volvo has partnered with the Sydney Institute of Marine Science and Reef Design Lab to create an environmentally-friendly ...
Baux creates plant-based acoustic panels
Baux has worked with scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology to create Baux Acoustic Pulp, a plant-derived acoustic solution
Lauren Heath-Jones
Baux, an acoustic products brand based in Sweden, has developed a line of biodegradable acoustic panels, using a plant-based material ...
Crown overhaul changing rooms at Saunton Sands spa
Crown Sports Lockers installed rain of Nebraska Oak clothes lockers with RFID Digilocks in the changing rooms
Lauren Heath-Jones
Saunton Sands Hotel in Devon, UK, has completed a £2m expansion of its spa and wellness facilities. The upgrade included ...
cladkit product news
Duravit launches Tempano shower trays
The Tempano trays feature a state-of-the-art design that combines a linear slope with a high drainage rate
Lauren Heath-Jones
Duravit, a Germany-based bathroom fixtures company, has launched Tempano, a series of easy-to-install shower trays for the home. Available in ...
Paul Kelley pushes 'technical boundaries' with modular furniture cube system
The system is designed to enable users to create multifunctional, adaptable pieces, where they are in complete control of the design and function of their furniture
Lauren Heath-Jones
British designer Paul Kelley has created a modular magnetic cube furniture system that enables users to create multifunctional, adaptable pieces, ...
Tom Dixon Studio to relaunch iconic Pylon chair
Pylon was first designed more than 20 years ago
Lauren Heath-Jones
Originally conceived in his metal workshop in the early 90's, the Pylon chair was Dixon's attempt to create the world's ...
cladkit product news
Alusid's Sequel collection combines craftsmanship and sustainability says founder
The Sequel collection is billed as the 'most waste-efficient and sustainable' on the market
Lauren Heath-Jones
Alusid, a creator of eco-friendly surfaces, has partnered with Parkside to launch the Sequel range, the brand's first collection of ...
BD Barcelona Design reveals Cristallo by the late Alessandro Mendini
Cristallo was the last design from acclaimed designer and architect Alessandro Mendini
Lauren Heath-Jones
Design Studio BD Barcelona Design has released Cristallo, a limited-edition cabinet designed by the late architect and designer Alessandro Mendini, ...
Mater partners with Ditzel family to create eco-friendly furniture using reclaimed plastic
The furniture uses plastic from recycled fishing nets
Lauren Heath-Jones
Mater, an ethical design brand based in Denmark, has launched a furniture collection made from plastic reclaimed from the ocean. ...
Sign up with CLAD for regular news updates