ANDhe Antonio Vespucio Liberti stadium in Buenos Aires, the legendary Monumental stadium, is in the midst of a transformation process. The mythical River Plate court, inaugurated in 1938, is undergoing a project designed by the Basque company IDOM, a transformation “unprecedented in South America,” the company’s sports architecture manager, César Azcrate, explains to EFE.
What makes this project different? César Azcrate, head of the sports architecture area at IDOM and who has already designed the new San Mams pitch in Bilbao, explains to Efe that The great novelty of this intervention lies in modernizing and updating the installation to world standards, but without losing its essence.
“Working on such a historical and emotionally charged stage is always a huge and exciting challenge,” admits the Bilbao architect who is also responsible for the projects for the new the San Lorenzo de Almagro stadium (Buenos Aires) and the San Carlos de Apoquindo stadium of the Catholic University (Santiago, Chile) or, in Spain, the remodeling of the Ciutat de Valencia (Levante) and the Ceramic Stadium (Villarreal) .
Elimination of the athletics track
The first works of the Monumental consist of the elimination of the athletics track and the lowering of the level of the playing field almost two meters, thus generating new low stalls close to the grass -which will be a hybrid with the latest drainage and ventilation technology- and complementing the oval typology of the stadium with new low rectangular stands.
“In the stands, all the seats are renewed and new low popular audiences are generated in the goalsit is. New VIP boxes, ‘hospitality’ areas and a restaurant with views of the pitch and the city are also being created”, explains Azcrate.
As for the capacity of the Monumental it will go from just over 70,000 spectators to 81,000 “which will make it the largest stadium in Latin America that belongs to a football club”.
The conclusion of the first stage is expected in February 2023 and the end of the work, with one hundred percent of the operational services, in June 2024, as announced a few weeks ago by the president of River Plate, Jorge Brito, in the plan presentation.
IDOM admits that this project is “very important” for the Bilbao firm, offering it the opportunity to work “with one of the historic clubs in world football” with the added responsibility of changing the appearance of a “mythical and sacred place for fans of River Plate” and also the Albiceleste, which was proclaimed world champion in Nez in 1978.
“Working hand in hand with the club and its leaders, our project is always respectful of the history of the stadium, with the fans and with the city of Buenos Aires. This historical and emotional charge means that certain aspects of the design must be analyzed by us.” much closer to the place and the local behavior guidelines”, emphasizes the architect.
To this end, the Spanish company has the advice of River Plate and also of local architecture and engineering firms “that help us interpret and understand these small differentiating details in terms of customs and more technical designs.”
“Then there are many other aspects that have to do with football, such as television broadcasts and technology that are already common to European football and that are somehow more global,” he adds.
Azcrate recognizes that “from the point of view of design” a remodeling involves greater complexity than a project that starts from scratch.
“In a remodeling you have to take into account many more aspects, those of the existing and those of the new parts that have to be projected. But it also has its attractive part because you have to find a way to value what exists and the keys to improve and update what was already planned many years ago, trying to get the best out of what was already built”, highlights the architect.