The Bernabéu Stadium was opened on its present site in 1947. Six years later, the eastern grandstand was enlarged (Padre Damián street) to hold 30,000 additional spectators.
Following the renovations for the Spain 82 World Cup (resulting in a continuous treatment with a new roof and paneled siding on the outer walls), Estudio Lamela was approached in 1988 by Real Madrid with a proposed need to accommodate an added 20,000, raising the total capacity to 106,000 spectators. A new upper ring was designed for this purpose, based on the vertical growth of the link elements which would protrude over the street. This required the existing roof to be completely dismantled and raised to a new height.
The construction of the new grandstand, with its corresponding entrances and complementary services, affected three of the four sides which had maintained the height of the original project. The Padre Damián street façade was not affected by any changes.
The existing roof was raised from level +34.45 to +54.90 by computer-controlled trusses, dispensing with the need to dismount the spotlights and the scoreboards. To prevent some of the spectators in the first tier to the exposure of rain, a lightweight supplementary roof was also installed. Divided into 17 modules with capacity for telescopic extension, it rests on the existing roof and slides out powered by two independent motors.
Exits for these 20,000 new spectators had to be resolved independently from the existing system, which led to the construction of new cantilevered stairs (without passing the curb line) whose form structures a finish which, in its raised position, prevents the entrances at street level from being overburdened. Four turrets were set at the corners to permit evacuation in considerably less than the stipulated fifteen minutes.
UEFA then decided to prohibit spectator standing areas, which forced the capacity to be reduced to 75,000, now all seated. This gave rise to one of the stadium’s multiple small modifications. These operations had highly considered the idea of strengthening the pressure-cooker concept, which enables the public to be intensely involved with the event. The last of these operations was the commission to develop a project that affected the façade and roofing of the eastern side on Padre Damián street.
It also included the renovation and functional relocation of the interior spaces. The solution had to resolve the Club’s requirements program and at the same time project a modern technological image befitting a twenty-first century football club.