As a new step in the modernisation process of San Carlos Apoquindo Stadium, Chilean soccer giants, Cruzados have launched the designs for the venue's transformation to make it the most modern and sustainable in the country.
The plans were unveiled by Chile's top-flight football club, Deportivo Universidad Católica (Cruzados) of the Primera División on December 17, 2020, with Spanish architecture practice, IDOM, having been selected following an intensive design contest in which both local and international firms participated.
After collecting a series of ideas and recommendations raised during the voluntary socialisation process - several suggested by the Club's neighbours and fans - and reflecting its extensive experience in the development of these types of venues globally, Cruzados, together with IDOM, delivered the first concept images of the modernised venue during a live show broadcast on the club's social media.
The launch was attended by the President of Cruzados (a public limited company that manages the Football Branch of the club) Juan Tagle, the General Manager, Juan Pablo Pareja, the President of the Sports Club, José Manuel Vélez, and Hernán De Solminihac, President of the Commission Stadium in charge of launcing the competition and reviewing the proposals of the nine studios that were presented, as well as César Azcárate, IDOM’s director of sports projects and architect in charge of the project.
From an architectural perspective, the project is conceived in section due to its location at the foot of the Cordillera, on a slight slope and looking towards the city of Santiago. For this, a main building is configured, which is shown towards the city and which houses a large part of the hospitality uses.
Starting from the current Stadium, anchored to the ground as if it were a Greek amphitheatre, the new needs, the new uses and the increase in capacity, from 14,000 to 20,000 spectators, generates a volume that is perceived as unitary, light and elevated with respect to what exists. In this sense, the use of wood as the main element in the façade and the roof structure allows dialogue to be established between the tectonic and the light, while also being a sustainable resource, in line with the whole approach to the modernisation of the Stadium.
A continuous boulevard is designed that allows access to all the upper part of the lower stands and that represents the line that separates what is linked to the ground from what is elevated. The new volumetric configuration will allow the stadium to go from being open to being closed covering the stands, generating a better football atmosphere, better acoustics and greater comfort for spectators. The stadium will be open 7 days a week, 365 days of the year, ensuring it is economically sustainable, and offering a wide range of hospitality activities.
Among the main features, the new stadium will boast a roof for the four stands, all of which will benefit from an increased capacity thanks to a brand new second floor. It will also include modern hospitality boxes located in the Livingstone and Fouillioux Grandstands, similar to those found in other top-flight European stadiums, as well as VIP areas, commercial and service areas.
The new design will have a bigger area for the press, in addition to the fact that fans will be able to enjoy a special sector where they can appreciate the history of the club.
With the new design, the four lighting towers disappear, thanks to the latest technology LED luminaires that will be used in the project - which will be installed on the new roof - similar to those seen in the most modern stadiums around the world, reducing considerably the light pollution towards the neighbourhood.
The new roof will also create a new atmosphere inside the venue by amplifying its acoustics and at the same time reducing the noise to the outside, an issue raised by the neighbours in the early process of socialising the project.
During the event, Juan Tagle, President of Cruzados, highlighted that this an important step for the club:
This is a day of strong emotions for the fans. For the first time we show images of which we dream will be our new home. For those of us who carry and feel this club deeply, today is a very special day. A historic day, one of those that are written down in everyone's memory.
Due to the deadlines related to obtaining the necessary legal authorisations, obtaining the financing required for the construction of the project and agreeing the sale of the Naming Rights to a main sponsor, Cruzados expects that the works will be concluded during the second half of the year.
The new stadium is due to host some sports disciplines during the 2023 Pan American Games to be held in Santiago in October of that year. To achieve this, construction works are expected to begin during the first half of 2022 and end in 2023.
The Universidad Católica Sports Club, founded in 1937, inaugurated its current stadium in 1988, known as the San Carlos de Apoquindo Stadium. With this renovation, the management team of Cruzado intends to modernise the Stadium and its surroundings, making it a multipurpose venue, which will be an architectural landmark for the town of Las Condes and the city of Santiago, providing value and services to the Community, the perfect place to organise high-level sporting events, while generating new income.
IDOM’s director of sports projects and architect in charge of the project, César Azcárate, said:
The new stadium will be a quality architectural icon for the community, visible from the environment and respectful of it, inspired by the traditional materials of Chilean architecture while looking to the future of football in the country.
Universidad Católica is one of the most successful and popular Chilean football clubs and considered one of Chile's "Big Three". Its traditional rival is Universidad de Chile. They contest the Clásico Universitario. Colo-Colo is the other big rival of the club.
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