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first look at El Molinón stadium by sordo madaleno

In preparation for the application of Asturias, Spain, as one of the host cities for the FIFA World Cup in 2030, Mexican architecture studio Sordo Madaleno, together with Orlegi Sports, presents the proposal for the refurbishment and remodeling of the El Molinón stadium, home of Real Sporting de Gijón. The project will encompass approximately 8.8 hectares of public space connected to the city of Gijón, and seating will be temporarily increased to accommodate 9,000 additional visitors to the 33,650 fixed seats during the World Cup. As Spain’s oldest professional football field, the El Molinón stadium site holds significant historical importance; as such the primary objective of the project is to renovate and enhance the existing sports infrastructure. 

Sordo Madaleno unveils proposal for El Molinón stadium | all renderings © Plomp

creating a series of semi-open spaces and open-air ramps

Sordo Madaleno’s approach focuses on creating a series of semi-open spaces with a welcoming facade that integrates both new and old elements of the building with its cityscape, lending views over Isabel La Católica Park and San Lorenzo Beach. The architecture studio has designed 10 covered, open-air circulation ramps that weave around the stadium exterior. These create a visually distinct structure that highlights the role that fans—La Mareona—play in defining the stadium’s identity as they move around it. The overall effect makes for a compelling, telegenic, softly red landmark for the region. The gentle gradient of the ramps ensures independent mobility and that these walkways are comfortable for local joggers to use outside the game season. 

sordo madaleno stadium
the project will encompass approximately 8.8 hectares of public space connected to Gijón

rethinking original infrastructure ahead of fifa world cup 2030

The new stadium design retains the position of the original pitch as well as over 28,000 sqm of the original built fabric and the number of seats for Real Sporting fans. It also builds on the pre-existing and thriving retail offer at the stadium and introduces an additional 12,600 sqm of space dedicated to a gastronomic corridor, restaurants, shops, and cultural activities. ‘Our close collaboration with Real Sporting de Gijón is about rethinking stadium design in a way that makes for a truly public place for everyone in the city to appreciate. It’s about connecting with Asturias and its people through an inclusive approach to architecture and ensuring that El Molinón thrives beyond 2030,‘ says Fernando Sordo Madaleno de Haro.

sordo madaleno stadium
10 covered, open-air circulation ramps that weave around the stadium exterior

sordo madaleno’s mixed-use vision for El Molinón stadium

An important aspect of how the architects revisit the stadium as an architectural typology is creating a facility that functions beyond game days. At El Molinón, this is achieved through a mixed-use approach that includes a scenic rooftop space for hospitality and events, including exhibitions by local artists. This dimension will support the region’s cultural profile and establish El Molinón as a year-round public destination accessible to residents and visitors. Formally, the opening-up of the stadium design in a way that interacts with the surrounding parkland and invites the public realm as an extension of its architecture is typologically innovative in stadium design because conventionally, sports architects favor a more hermetic approach to enclosed buildings in isolation from their context. This openness and highly contextual approach adopted by Sordo Madaleno is also celebratory on game days as fans – La Mareona – move along the stadium ramps in a pilgrimage-like homecoming procession.

red open-air ramps weave around sordo madaleno's FIFA 2030 stadium in gijón, spain
a mixed-use approach that includes a scenic rooftop space

red open-air ramps weave around sordo madaleno's FIFA 2030 stadium in gijón, spain
the stadium will interact with the surrounding parkland

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