This is the 40,000-seat Al Janoub Stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup which could be reduced to a 20,000-seat capacity designed by world famous Zaha Hadid Architects and will be one of the eight venues in Qatar where league and quarter final matches will be held in 2022. Do you know what inspired the design of this stadium, the construction of which was started in 2013 and completed in 2019?
The stadium is located in the coastal city of Al Wakrah and like any other Eastern Arabian coastal areas, one can see plenty of Dhows used for multiple purposes, especially by pearl divers in the region. The client, Qatar Football Association, wanted the design of the stadium reflect the maritime heritage of its location, in particular, the traditional boat of the region, the Dhow. ZHA responded with a design that incorporates these cultural references in an abstracted manner and combines them with practical responses to the climate, context and the functional requirements of a football stadium. The abstraction transforms the literal into something new and appropriate for a football stadium; allowing multiple interpretations of these cultural references both in terms of how they are applied and how they are read.
The stadium’s roof design is an abstraction of the hulls of the dhows turned upside-down and huddled together to provide shade and shelter. This is expressed in the stadium’s envelop geometry, details and selected materiality, including the roof’s beam structure that echoes the interior structure of a dhow’s hull.
The facades of the stadium are slated outwards, tapered in elevation and reminiscent of dhow’s sail. The image of the dhow is further emphasized through the large overhang of the stadium’s eaves that incorporates strips of metal cladding echoing the timber structure used in a dhow.
Further, the stadium’s opaque roof and wall areas are expressed as a pleated cross sections. This feature, which has its origin in Arabic motifs and calligraphy, adds texture to the outer shell and also emphasizes the stadium’s unique geometry. According to the architect, the external cladding materials are deliberately selected from a limited palette of materials and choice of colours; namely white for the roof and wall cladding, and darker colours for the areas below the eaves, including the lower level glazed walls with its ornamental lattice screen print that provides shading.
20,000 seats is the optimum capacity of the stadium for legacy use as the home ground to Al Wakrah Sport Club professional football team of the Qatar Stars National league. These temporary seats have been designed to be demountable and transported to a country in need of sporting infrastructure for post-tournament usage. Further temporary accommodation such as concessions are required for the additional capacity of FIFA World cup tournament mode. This has been built as a temporary overlay outside the permanent footprint and enclosure of the stadium in its legacy mode.