When Spanish soccer team Real Madrid’s stadium—the Santiago Bernabeu—was inaugurated in 1947, it was a stadium ahead of its time. It quickly went on to become one of the world’s most storied footballing cathedrals. Fast forward to the present however, and the 85,000-seater stadium—despite renovations and upgrades—has become slightly outdated.
This prompted Real Madrid to unveil plans for an ultra-modern new stadium exterior to usher its players and fans into the modern era. The unique project won’t involve demolishing the stadium and building a new one, but will rather see the venerable stadium clothed in a new, modern exterior complete with a retractable roof.
After a highly competitive process that saw many of the world’s top architectural firms submit proposals, Real Madrid opted for a design submitted by German architectural practice GMP. The renovation will cost around $457 million, half of which is expected to be funded by selling the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu’s naming rights to a global brand.
“Our commitment is to continue increasing the heritage of our club, thus gain in economic strength, so we can continue to lead in an environment of increasing competition,” said Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez.