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The Best Sport Architecture “San Mamés Stadium”

by Elena Abascal
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Hisbalit in the change rooms of  the new San Mamés stadium

The former stadium of the Athletic Club de Bilbao, popularly known as the “cathedral of football”, posed a tremendous  challenge in the design of the new San Mamés stadium, which sought to preserve the magical atmosphere and intensity of the legendary stadium.

The new stadium has not only maintained the mythical aura of its predecessor but has surpassed it in many ways, meeting the expectations and requirements of the fans.

So successful was the new stadium that it was named the Best Sport Architecture of the Year in the World Architecture  Festival 2015 (WAF).

The presence of Hisbalit

The interior of the stadium is characterised by the use of simple, elegant materials, effectively transmitting the corporate identity of the Athletic Club de Bilbao. Particularly striking is the unity of the design throughout the building, using the red and white colours so characteristic of the Club.

The changing rooms were finished using our glass mosaic tiles, models Unicolor 103A and 176F in 2.5×2.5 cm format. These colours are a perfect match for the distinctive colours of the Club, while the materials are ideally suited to the minimalist, modern and elegant  aesthetic of the space.

The unique characteristics of the glass mosaic tiles make Hisbalit an ideal choice for architects ACXT-Idom. These non-porous tiles provide the perfect solution, especially in high-traffic areas such as changing rooms and are highly resistant to abrupt temperature changes, impacts and wear.

The tiles also serve as effective insulation, preventing frictions, humidity and the appearance of mould and mildew. Additionally, these glass tiles are highly cost-effective, virtually maintenance free and with a durability of 35 to 40 years.

The new San Mamés Stadium

In terms of design, one of the fundamental objectives was to incorporate the building into the urban landscape, respecting the established characteristics of this area of Bilbao. This was fully achieved.

The stadium has an intense and striking harmony with its surroundings and with the city. The façade is one of the key elements in the singularity of the new San Mamés stadium and the repetition of the torsioned ETFE panels provides unity and dynamism to the structure.

When illuminated at night, this façade creates a striking urban landmark on the river, projecting a bold new image of Bilbao to the world. Additionally, as with the old San Mamés stadium, the configuration of the stands is fully oriented towards the pitch for maximum involvement of the spectators in the match.

The new stadium has a capacity of over 53,000 spectators and offers ample space for both public and private use. The new stadium constitutes another architectural landmark for the capital of Vizcaya.

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