Villarreal CF have been working on the biggest ever transformation of the club’s stadium, turning it into a modern, cutting-edge and sustainable facility, on a par with the best venues in Europe.
This redevelopment project has been spearheaded by IDOM, a prestigious international engineering and architecture company that has already participated in important projects such as the construction of the new San Mamés (Athletic Club), the remodelling of the Estadio Monumental (River Plate) or the design and construction of the new roof of the Ciutat de València Stadium (Levante UD).
For Los Amarillos, the overarching objective is always to keep improving, both in a sporting and infrastructure sense. When it comes to the reasoning for the redevelopment of the Estadio de la Cerámica being carried out at this moment in time, two important events were taking place in quick succession that drove the project forward: one was the World Cup in Qatar, and the fact that the pause to club football for more than a month would see the team lose fewer home games in front of their fans, and the other was the centenary of the club. “We wanted to start 2023, the year of Villarreal CF’s centenary, in style, with a remodelled stadium,” stated club president Fernando Roig.
Ahead of the work being carried out, Roig stated: “This new refurbishment is the definitive transformation, enclosing the space where there is currently an empty corner, roofing all the stands and creating new interior spaces. In addition, we will make use of renewable energies, with photovoltaic panels, while we will change all of the seats and upgrade the structures for television production.” Those words were put into action, because the new-look Estadio de la Cerámica is now a reality.
This major transformation of the stadium has had a cost of approximately 50 million euros. It means that, in the club’s centenary year, Villarreal CF have made a significant financial effort, one which was also made possible thanks to the Boost LaLiga funds.
The complexities of refurbishing a stadium
César Azcárate, architect and director of Sports & Events at IDOM, emphasised through the club's official media how satisfied he was at having met the deadlines in time for hosting the match that had been circled as the objective for the inauguration of the new-look venue. “It has been an impressive challenge because it was not easy to achieve. Between the summer and the World Cup break, we made a big push and did it in record time thanks to the collaboration of everyone. We managed to finish in time for the match on December 31st, which was the president’s objective.”
The IDOM director of sports architecture also stated that “a refurbishment is always more difficult than a construction from scratch”. Explaining the reason for this, he said: “When you design with a blank sheet of paper, it is much easier to achieve the objectives you set at the beginning, but when you have to rely on what already exists, on what is already built, it is much more complicated.”
Offering further detail on the complexity of the refurbishment, he pointed out which aspects were most difficult: “The first complexity was the project itself, because it wasn’t easy given that this was a remodelling to give the stadium a unified image, something that was lacking because it was a stadium that had been built up gradually. Meanwhile, it was also difficult to combine the overall project with the construction. We used a model known in construction terms as fast track, which means that, at the same time as the work is being carried out, other projects are being worked on within the overall project. For this to work, it requires total harmony between the club, the city council, the architects, the contractor and the other parties involved.”
Despite this being a difficult project, Azcárate insisted that it turned out exactly as it had been imagined. One of the main characteristics, as mentioned above, is the unifying character of the stadium, both on the outside and inside. To make it more unified on the outside, “more surface area has been freed up for the city itself, which was something the stadium lacked before due to the buildings attached to it”. On the inside, “the design will now make the stadium a pressure cooker, creating an even greater football atmosphere and enhancing the fan experience”.
The south side of the stadium becomes even more important
Along with the plan to create a stadium with a unified look both inside and out, another key objective was to build an element of connection with the city. On this, the architect added: “The south stand has a large window at the top that allows spectators in that area of the stadium to look out at the city or at the pitch at the same time. This south stand has become the most important point because it has the widest view of the city and the main square.”
This part of the stadium will be used the most, with the restaurant - which already existed - and with a museum coming in the future on the middle floor, while there will be other spaces too. This area is an opportunity to make the stadium as active as possible and not just a place where games are played every two weeks. The architect stated: “We want it to open up to the city and be a place that will be active almost every day of the year.”
The project is now almost complete and is expected to be completely finished by March. In this way, Villarreal CF have become one of the many LaLiga clubs undertaking major renovations to their stadiums and sports facilities thanks to the CVC funds.