24 November 2022
The inspiration behind Qatar’s FIFA World Cup stadiums
While all eyes are on the football taking place at the FIFA World Cup, the eye-catching stadiums have been generating plenty of interest in themselves.
Here’s the story behind each stadium’s design inspiration as well as the plans for after the tournament.
Al Bayt Stadium
This was the venue for the opening game and it will also play host to one of the semi-finals. The design resembles a tent that was used historically by nomadic people in Qatar and the broader Gulf region.
The stadium also boasts a retractable roof to complement the impressive cooling technologies where there was heavy investment to allay concerns about the temperatures in Qatar.
It’s currently a 60 000-seat venue, but after the tournament it will be downsized to 40 000 as it’s been constructed in a way that the upper tier can be removed and repurposed for other sporting facilities.
With a capacity of 80 000, this is the largest stadium for the tournament and it will host the final.
The design is inspired by the light and shadow of a traditional fanar lantern which also contains additional decorations resembling those found on local artistic bowls.
The stadium opened this year and has seating in three different tiers. While the roof offers extensive protection from dust and warm wind, it’s also made from material that allows for light to come in and help natural grass to grow.
After the tournament, the space will be transformed into an area for shops, schools, health clinics and sporting facilities.
Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
This 45 000-capacity stadium was opened two years ago after taking the place of another stadium that was in the same spot with more than 90% of construction materials reused or recycled from the old arena.
The design reflects the undulations of sand dunes with other geometric patterns that represent the beauty of the desert.
After the tournament, it will be used as the home for Al Rayyan – Qatar’s second most successful football club behinds Al-Sadd.
Al Janoub Stadium
The city’s history of seafaring is the inspiration for the design of this 40 000-seat stadium with the cover resembling the sails of traditional Dhow boats that are used by pearl divers in the Persian Gulf.
The stadium boasts a retractable roof that weighs over 400 tonnes. Following the tournament, it will be downsized to 20 000 seats and be used as the home for the football club Al-Wakrah.
Al Thumama Stadium
This unique stadium represents a gahfiya, a traditional woven cap worn by men throughout the Middle East. The design also helps the venue’s cooling technology.
After the tournament, half of the seats will be removed and the upper stands will be replaced by a boutique hotel with views onto the field.
Education City Stadium
The distinctive feature of this stadium is the design of the triangles that form diamond-like geometric patterns that appear to change colour depending on the position of the sun.
At night, the façade turns into a digital light show.
In what’s become a running theme for most of these venues, 20 000 seats will be removed after the tournament with the top tier of the stadium turning into university classrooms.
Khalifa International Stadium
This is the only one of the FIFA World Cup venues that was an existing stadium that’s been repurposed for the tournament.
It was originally built in 1976 and was redeveloped in 2017 for Qatar 2022. The main addition was a wide canopy to support the air conditioning system. Another added feature for the fans is the LED lighting system.
This unique stadium is named after the region’s international dialling code and is made entirely from shipping containers. This will be the first FIFA World Cup stadium that will be fully removed after the tournament.
Many of the materials needed for the venue’s construction were brought in containers that were used in the actual building.
There are natural wind patterns in the location, so unlike the other stadiums, this one uses the breezes for ventilation as opposed to cooling technology.
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