Arena review: Wanda metropolitano

During these five years working in Sport and Entertainment (S&E) changed the way how I spend my free time. I never have been the kind of architect who travel to see buildings. But now, when I have the chance to visit any S&E venue, I don’t think twice.

The last time I went to Madrid, I had the chance to visit the new home for Atletico de Madrid: The Wanda Metropolitano Stadium. It is certainly a stadium to be proud if you are “colchoner@”. The Stadium is in the edge of Madrid, inside of M40 highway. It’s at the end of Av. de Arcentales and the closest metro station is Estadio Metropolitano. There is a plenty space around the stadium and the different exit routes provide many alternatives to evacuate. We used the metro station to reach the stadium and I was surprised to see how easy and smoothly was the evacuation. The distances between stadium gates and metro station are optimal. Architects Cruz y Ortiz did a smart work seating the stadium on a podium. We saw the game Atletico de Madrid – Levante UD. The assistance was probably full capacity (~67,500) or at least its look like that day.

The stadium is seated on a podium and below it, a promenade with the necessary ingredients to creates Pedestrian Rambla. The new buildings and business in the area will take advantage of this “spatial scaffolding” around the stadium. New opportunities and activities, around the stadium will certainly bring extra value to the area. I’m very curious too see how the urban design will connect the area to the city.

The Podium is very generous and allow great flexibility for different activities. For example, security zones, fans sectorization or even a beer festival including a concert stage. The stadium façade is composed by a series of curved wall layers. Between the walls, big stairs to access bowl upper tiers. The wall height and stair widths allow improvised picnic areas before the game. When the roof is not long enough to provide exterior shadows, the walls height, balance the situation.

The rambla

The podium


The main concourse is very generous and is separated in two levels. The upper level, for toilets and accesses and the lower level connected with the seats. The concessions for food and beverages are located underneath of concourse stairs. The distance between concessions is big and the food and beverage offer is not diverse. Usually Spanish fans bring their own sandwiches “bocatas” to the game. In general, the average Spanish fan don’t have the habit to spend too much money in football games. This is one of the reasons why in Spain the concessions idea it’s not so well developed that other countries. Nevertheless, the business model will change, and at some point, the main concourse in the stadium will have to adapt.

Currently the main concourse doesn’t help to keep fans excitement. Nevertheless, the space looks very efficient and clean, because people's circulation is never interrupted. The above floor tier is quite low and creates a dramatic effect between the void bowl and the concourse. It’s a cool effect. The roof frames the views and project the bowl into the concourses. Nevertheless, this effect lost the initial strength, for what was commented above.


The stadium main space is a subtle balance between roof (transparent) and bowl (solid). The roof waves between old and new, and “La peineta” stand contribute with the history and drama for the game. I would return to the stadium only to watch a game from the old stand.

The stadium main space is composed by “La peineta” the old stand in the West side and a U shape 4 tiers bowl in the East side. We have the lower tier, Medium tier, Box Level and the Upper tier. Apparently, the Medium tier is a sort of a premium seating with some hospitality in the back. I don’t have enough information to understand why VIP seats are too far from the Field of Play (FoP). Most probably the reason was a sightline issue. Nevertheless, I would prefer VIP boxes just above the lower tier (very close to the action), then premium seats and upper tier.

The lower tier, it’s not parabolic. Instead is composed by 2 straight segments with different inclinations separated by a lateral gangway. The second straight segment is slightly steeper than the first segment to avoid obstruction views. The sightline quality for both, the long and short side are good enough in the lower tier last row to reach the FoP line. (at least, that was my perception).

The Corners

The distance from the corner's seats to FoP line is shorter than the sides; consequently, sightlines are obstructed by the person seated in front of you. This is because, the 2 straight segments don’t generate the required inclination to compensate the shorter distance. Therefore, designers used the lower tier corners to sectorize the bowl with double gangways and barriers to reduce the number of affected seats. My seat was next to the gangway, so I could experiment the obstructed view issue. I don’t know, how many and how much seats are affected. If there are no serious complaints from fans, I guess all should be ok.

PRMs seats location

The other point that calls my attention in the stadium, was the location for Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRMs) seats in the lower tier. PRMs usually need space for a wheelchair and companion with a dedicate space designed to avoid any obstruction view if the person in front or diagonal stand up. The general recommendation is a minimum elevated position to allow the person in the wheelchair to see the FoP over any people standing. The NADS recommends at least 1200mm for the elevated position. The wheelchair elevated position (normally called super riser) impacts in the sightlines of the people seated behind and around. Therefore, is a good idea understand the super riser design from the 3D point of view.

PRMs seats indicated in the floor


I was curious to understand the views to FoP line for the PRMs in the lower concourse. The challenge was to determine how many seats in the lower tier, obscure the PRMs views according to their location in the stadium. The first task was to rebuild the lower tier based on pictures and documentation I found in internet. I used scrum for a quick build and to match both, plans and sections.

I used SCRUM to rebuild quickly the lower tier, place the gangways and seats. I adjusted the parameters until both, plans and sections looks quite closer to the documents.

I place the PMRs (pink) according to the stadium pictures. Then I build a sightline plane (dark blue) between the FoP line (cyan) and the PMRs eye. I used these planes to understand sightlines

Per each seat in the lower tier, I place test dummies (green) to simulate the crowd in the stadium

  • How many seats do we need to remove if everyone remains seated at all time in the stadium? According to the results, at least the last 3 rows in the lower tier should be remain empty to allow a clear sightline to FoP line

  • How many seats do we need to remove if we consider people standing up? at least the last 5 rows in the lower tier should be remain empty to allow a clear sightline to FoP line

    PRM eye point of view towards to FoP line, if the last 5 rows in the lower tier are not being used. The test dummies appear standing up (1.70m)

    This is the current sightline for a PMR according to stadium location

    This is the current sightline for a PMR according to stadium location, if the people in the front row stand up for a gooaal!


    Wanda metropolitano is a great stadium which impress for design and space, and it is a great contribution for the area and Madrid. It will bring attraction and value to the zone, because architects give around the building a spatial scaffolding to develop new opportunities. My guess is the area will grow economically and environmentally sustainable. I could only visit a small part of the stadium and is impossible to judge a design if you don’t understand all the parameters in the equation. It was a good experience for me. Understand the team, their culture and talk with fans gave me a more complete perspective about a “colchoner@” is. As I said before, it is certainly a stadium to be proud if you are “colchoner@”.

The objective of this review is creating a discussion around the topics commented above, I'm interesting to hear about your experience in the venue, what do you think, etc. Constructive critics are always welcome.


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