On 5 April 2014, Barça celebrated the second referendum in his more than 100 years of history and put before the members the most important and ambitious project in the shape of the Espai Barça. The project included the complete renovation of Camp Nou, the construction of a new Palau Blaugrana, the redesigning of the land in Les Corts into a great Campus Barça open to the neighbourhood and the city, the construction of the Estadi Johan Cruyff - which is now complete, and it was approved by 72.36% of members who voted that day. At that moment, the members decided the future of the Club, and they gave their support to an unprecedented transformation which makes Espai Barça the best sporting complex in the world in the centre of a big city, a cosmopolitan, Mediterranean one like Barça, one with a unique personality just like the Club itself.
The project began with that democratic decision, something that is part of the uniqueness of Barça, owned by its members. Following the referendum, the members and fans were informed about the project with the Sala París and the Les Corts site home to a permanent exhibition that was visited by more than 169,000 people at a point at which no architectural projects had been finalised, that came after the international competition amongst architecture firms.
The land of the El Forn tennis club at the Ciutat Esportiva was purchased in 2013 and that led the way for the modification of the General Metropolitan Plan to redesign, extend and consolidate the current Ciutat Esportive and to build what would be the new Miniestadi. So, in January 2015, the Sant Joan Despí City Council gave the green light to the project and in March 2015 Batlle i Roig Architects won the contest to decide who would design the future Miniestadi (as of yet it did not bear the name of Johan Cruyff).
Later, between June and September, the finalists for the bid for the new Palau Blaugrana and the future Camp Nou were decided and in October the Board of Directors presented the proposal and its progress the Assembly of Representatives.
That year another important task in the evolution of the future Camp Nou took place with the scanning by more than 5,000 lasers of the stadium to create a blueprint and develop 3D models for use in BIM Technology, a way of integrating software, three dimensional models and databases to develop a virtual, unique plan that creates a simulation of a finished building and all its components and for which the Club has been recognised internationally.
Finally, in January of 2016, the jury declared HOC+TAC Architects as the winners of the competition to design the new Palau, a proposal that stood out for the innovative idea of the Palau as a multi-functional spaces, flexible and with personality, conceived to host competitive, sporting events and also social and cultural events. The proposal, which at the time, envisaged a venue with room for 10,000 spectators for sporting events, has now grown with 15,000 the capacity.
A short while later, in February 2016, the jury for the competition to design the future Camp Nou announced the winner as the joint venture between Japanese firm Nikken Sekkei and the Catalans Pascual i Ausió Arquitectes. The project stood out for open, elegant, timeless and Mediterranean nature and it will transform the current venue into a stadium with room for 105,000 fans, all protected from the elements and with all the latest technological advances; a stadium that will be built in phases without the need for matches to played elsewhere.
Once the architectural projects for the future Camp Nou and new Palau Blaugrana were decided, the Club presented the designs to the waiting world, allowing the members and fans to get to know the project via a five month exhibition at the Sala París at the Les Corts site and also an itinerant exhibition all around Catalonia. Barça also exhibited the finalists' projects at the Official College of Catalan Architects (COAC). The excitement began to grow amongst members and Barça fans and the acceptance of the winning projects was unanimous.
At the same time, the Espai Barça team began to grow to deal with the demands of developing all the elements of a project as large as that of Espai Barça. Amongst them was the topic of sustainability and in September 2016 it received the pre-certification DGNB, the German urban district system known globally, and it become the first sporting complex in the centre of a big city to receive it.
During several months, the Club, working intensely with officials from Barcelona City Council, developed the necessary urban planning to move ahead with the Espai Barça project, the Modification to the General Metropolitan Plan (MPGM). The Club started the informative process with local residents in Les Corts and the different political parties to get the biggest consensus possible. In the month of February, the first draft of the urban changes in Les Corts were presented to members and in July initial approval was obtained.
In the month of Marc it was announced that the new Miniestadi to be built at the Ciutat Esportiva would bear the name of Johan Cruyff, a decision taken in conjunction with the family of the Barça legend and standard bearer for their style of play. The architectural project advanced and in April it was presented alongside Sant Joan Despí City Council and Mayor Antoni Poveda. Finally, on 14 September an event took place to mark the placing of the first brick on the site as the construction of the stadium began.
2018 was an especially important year in the Espai Barça project as it saw the culmination of the city agreement for the approval of the new urban planning for Les Corts, the MPGM, which brings with it an urban transformation in the area around Camp Nou. In April all the political parties with the exception of CUP gave the green light to the project and in May final approval was granted and later ratified by the Generalitat (Catalan Regional Government). As such, the Espai Barça project was able to overcome a significant obstacle and put an end to a process that had been extended with the change in municipal government in 2015.
In the summer of 2018, preliminary work on maintenance and security at Camp Nou got under way with the enlargement of the tunnel in the south goal, the ring facilities in the interior of the stadium and the refurbishment of the electrical network which finished in September of 2019.
This was the year that the team of Nikken Sekkei opened an office in Barcelona in 2016 and they made progress in the development of the project for the future Camp Nou with the support of the Espai Barça team. The latter were working on aspects of the project such as sustainability, accessibility for which it was recognised by the CAFE (Centre for Access to Football in Europe), main partner in social responsibility with UEFA.
Meanwhile, the Estadi Johan Cruyff's construction continued to progress and in February there was an institutional visit to check on the work which was in its final stages. Once completed and following a period of testing, the first piece of the Espai Barça project was inaugurated in August and Barça B, Barça Women and the Barça U19s were able to start to play in their new home.
In the autumn the Club prepared for the demolition of the Miniestadi and at the same time paid tribute to the stadium. The dismantling of the stadium was done systematically to aid sustainability and the process took the period of time planned and included the removal of the passageway between the Miniestadi and the Palau Blaugrana.
In early 2020 the Club received some good news with the approval of the urban projects and the redesign of land included in the MPGM which allowed the work to start on the zone around Joan XXIII avenue.
This year the focus of the Club was in new financial plan that Barça have been working on intensely for months and was planned to go before the members in a referendum until the arrival of the coronavirus crisis forced it to be put on hold until the pandemia has passed and the world returns to normal. Without a calendar for the end of the crisis, it is impossible to know or predict up to what point it will affect the construction process. The Espai Barça team, however, are still working and making progress and looking at the possible effects of COVID-19 on Espai Barça in order to minimise possible delays.