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L'Estadi (Camp Nou)

It was Francesc Miró-Sans, president of FC Barcelona in 1953, that took the initiative to build a new stadium after an electoral campaign. There was a strong cry to build a new stadium for the all mighty Catalan club. The campaign was represented with the slogan: "We need, we want and we'll have a new stadium!". After just 4 months upon approval of the project, works started at Camp Nou, the New Stadium as it is named in Catalan. The stadium was finally inaugurated in 1957. Officially it is named L'Estadi.

Architects Josep Soteras Mauri and Francesc Mitjans Miró created a stadium project based on a structure in concrete and steel with 2 rings of continuous tiers. The upper ring lowers to give way to a roof structure above the main tribune. The roof contains 26 supporting beams in steel and has a simple profile that narrows towards the playing field. In the early years, the stadium had a capacity of 93 000 spectators.

In 1982, the stadium was enlarged and greatly renovated to host a couple of games during the World Cup. The stadium could hold 115 000 spectators after construction of a third ring of tiers at the opposite side of the stadium where there was no roof. The new ring of tiers is characterized by an increasing shape. At its highest point it heightens 48 meters (157 feet) from ground level.

The height of the stadium offers a great sensation of majesty. At the outside, the stadium looks impressively static. The flank is perfectly vertical and is alternated with a mix of dark holes and shabby panels. In 1997, names of football players were inserted in the sad façade to have it cheered up a little.

In 1994, the first ring of tiers was enlarged. Therefore, the level of the playing field had to be lowered 2.5 meters (8.2 feet). At the same time, standing places in the upper tribunes were transformed into seats. Today, Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe containing more than 98 000 seats. The proximity of the tribunes to the playing field and the impressive size of the stadium make Camp Nou one of Europe's most atmospheric football stadiums.

© by Angelo Spampinato

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