Text description provided by the architects. The Englishmen´s fields
...Impossible teams arrived on foreign ships, they taught a few locals a new idea, absurd at first, about how to get back to nature by kicking a ball around... ...with the white clinker outlining the moist, green grass, any field that could be filled with curious spectators would do; seated on the slopes close, so close that some threw off their berets to join in the game... ...Once again, another field this time artificial, a hill to sit on, surrounded by greenery, almost as if we were playing, another opportunity...
How difficult it is to construct with nature. It has always confronted us, and we only have course, limited resources to imitate it. The stadium wants to introduce a sensitive sort of camouflage using luminous variations of forests like the 1001 trees we have planted beside the stadium, using artificial/plant matter made of steel, vibrant beneath the folds of the awnings. The entrances through this fictitious green curtain bear us into a different geography that controls the spectators´ flow and occupancy.
A powerful external image and an emblematic interior, formed by multiple “buildings” with independent organisation, differentiated by the folds of the seating tiers, their particularised gardens and the different viewing perspectives. Each one of these buildings holds its own individualised services and entrances, making them susceptible to independent usage. The building now only stops working for an hour and a half every week, like a male catharsis, and proposes the image of fruitful week of enjoyable, perverse gatherings of housewives, separatist amnesty groups or even traditional dancers organising their next street parade.A stadium is not just for sport...There are some who do not like football, aren´t there? The unity of the building beyond this battery of programs is provided by the roof, a direct reflection of the organisation of the tiers, permeable to the soft, north light, outlined at the points where the rain penetrates the interior gardens, if it ever rains vertically. At sunset, the folded, translucent volume of the building turns into a soft origami-like lamp, capable of marking out a new luminous topography in its role as the emblem of the survival of an irrecoverable glorious past.
Three years later...
Reality is always stranger than fiction, which is beginning to be the only fun part of our job. Micropiles cased in stainless steel sleeves force their way down by drilling through the ruins of the blast furnaces buried under the stadium tiers. Forty metre-deep invisible, luxurious footings to escape from the polluted sludge that embraces the Nervion River estuary. A million or more kilos of bolted steel with weird stresses so as not to display tie rods or structures that might speak for themselves. Reinforced steel shapes with constant cores and wings with variable thickness to avoid the pornography of stress. A system that proves itself to be perfect for urgent requirements, solid, resistant but not at all versatile. They are like a diamond, hard, untouchable and there for ever. Metres and metres of tubes of all sorts, colours, resistances, thermal and conductive properties, stainless steels, coppers, aluminiums, polymers, polypropylenes, heat welded, folded or bolted all run through the ring-shaped equipment tunnel, dissapearing out of view but not out of control. State-of-the-art lighting to illuminate are recessed, adapting to the geometry of the folds and cuts, inscribing the skeleton of the building in the darkness. For the players, another story altogether, 150 spotlights that burn thousands of watts and adjustable luminance cones for future digital TV broadcasts.
A competent metalworker sculpts the steel forest; a subtle fitter stitches the impossible plastic roof together, and somebody who had no idea about what he was getting into tenses every part of the expanded metal mesh, squaring up the gaps between the panels one by one. A job for an embroiderer. The laser arrives and in our village mentality we gasp, “Wow!”, and in a couple of mornings, it guides the whole of the pitch drainage operation, calibrating impossible slopes for the buckets of rain that fall here in the north. Hang on, are you sure we are going to colour all the seats? Nowadays it is hard to paint anything with rainbow colours. It has taken on incomprehensible meanings in a country that is still a bit macho. But here they go, all mixed up, like the population itself. It would be nice to have an inaugural match, Barakaldo Football Club vs. The Rest of the World. In the end it´s so much effort, isn´t it?