Details of the latest proposed stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar have been officially revealed, with a design inspired by the traditional Arab ‘gahfiya’ headdress.
The Al Thumama Stadium – conceived by Qatari architect Ibrahim M. Jaidah from Arab Engineering Bureau, Qatar’s oldest design firm – will seat 40,000 fans in 2022, with the capacity reduced to 20,000 in ‘legacy mode’ after the tournament.
The gahfiya, as it is known in Qatar, is a woven cap that is part of the traditional outfit worn by men all around the Arab world – with different styles, colours and names depending on the country and the culture it belongs to. It often features a diamond-shaped pattern, and this has been referenced by Jaidah in the perforations that dot the stadium’s facade.
“In Qatari culture, the gahfiya forms an important part of every young boy’s pathway to adulthood, and this rite of passage inspired my vision for the stadium’s design, ” he explained. "It's a nod to the past, while offering an exciting glimpse into Qatar’s tomorrow.
“The arena that symbolises Qatar’s youth and its emergence as a major player on the global sporting scene, is ready to welcome the world in 2022.”
Construction work has already begun on site in Al Thumama district, 12km from Doha’s Hamad International Airport, and is scheduled for completion in 2020.
The main contractor is a joint-venture between Qatari company Al Jaber Engineering and Turkey’s Tekfen Construction, who are together tasked with implementing a “state-of-the-art” cooling system that will use solar energy to keep the ground at a temperature that is safe and comfortable for players and spectators.
The structure is also being built to accommodate a series of leisure amenities after the World Cup is over, including a boutique hotel, running and horse riding tracks, a sports clinic, and community facilities for handball, tennis, basketball and swimming.
Six other grounds are also currently under construction – including the Lusail Stadium by Foster + Partners and the Al Wakrah Stadium by Zaha Hadid Architects. A seventh, the Khalifa International Stadium, was completed earlier this year.
Despite the involvement of global star names, the tournament’s organisers have claimed that the World Cup is showcasing the excellence of local architects.
“From the very beginning, we always believed that this World Cup would be a catalyst, and a supporter, to blossom the industry, and our vision during our bid was to always assist in developing local talent and local industry,” said Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.
“Ibrahim Jaidah is very well known in the state of Qatar, and that’s why we believed he had the talent, the passion and the commitment for the Al Thumama project. It was essential for us to promote and shine the spotlight on such talent – and considering his track record and experience, he was well placed for us to be able to work with him, and utilise his talent in one of our stadiums.”
The World Cup will begin on 21 November 2022.
First published: www.sportparksleisure.com, written by Kim Megson, 21 August 2017