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Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Madrid

Real Madrid Football Club marked a significant milestone as they played their inaugural match in the revamped Santiago Bernabéu stadium, a project that is nearing completion after undergoing extensive renovations led by architectural firms L35, Ribas & Ribas, and GMP Architecten. This match was especially significant as it marked the club’s first game since the ambitious renovation project kicked off, and the retractable roof was put to use.

In addition to the installation of the retractable roof and the sleek steel facade, the renovation also introduced a striking terrace that encircles the stadium, positioned atop the stands. Moreover, a cutting-edge pitch removal and storage system was seamlessly integrated.

One of the standout features is the innovative retractable pitch, designed to accommodate large-scale events. This remarkable pitch will be nestled in six subterranean levels, descending over 25 m below the stadium’s surface. It is equipped with an underground irrigation system and ultraviolet lighting to maintain the quality of the grass. Furthermore, the stadium’s seating capacity will see an increase from around 81,000 to 85,000 spectators.

This design not only enhances the stadium’s versatility for football but also opens doors to hosting various sporting events like baseball and tennis matches. The grass is segmented into broad ribbons, neatly tucked beneath the stadium floor. When needed, hydraulic lifts elevate the playing surface, transforming it into a multifunctional arena.

The comprehensive renovation initiative, initiated in 2019, has been a collaborative endeavour involving Spanish firms L35 and Ribas & Ribas, in conjunction with the expertise of the German studio GMP Architecten. The Santiago Bernabéu, globally renowned, and originally built in 1947 with the architectural vision of Manuel Muñoz Monasterio and Luis Alemany Soler, has seen multiple expansions and renovations over the years.

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