The Construction of Cultural Identity
Architecture of Qatara’s New Sports Facilities for FIFA World Cup 2022
On the second of December 2010, Qatar was chosen by FIFA to host the World Cup
in 2022. This choice has shed light on the architecture in Qatar and the sports facilities to
be constructed to host this significant international event. Qatar has presented a number
of proposals for the construction of new sports stadiums in addition to rehabilitation of
existing stadiums, with an investment amounting to $ 50 billion to upgrade its
infrastructure in addition to $ 4 billion for the construction of new stadiums.
The vision provided through the Bid file reflects the cultural identity that Qatar wants
to present to the world about herself, the Arab world, the Middle East and the Islamic
World. Qatar's dazzling success in the organization of Asian Olympic Games in 2006,
which included competitors in more than 30 games, had a great impact on the success of
the Bid file. This is in addition to the successful history of Qatar in hosting sporting
events such as the Asian Cup in 1988, the World Youth Championship in 1995 and its
intention to host the Asian Cup in 2011.
Qatar plans to host the World Cup in soccer in 12 sports environment friendly
stadiums. The stadiums’ designs reflect the extent to which Qatar have reached in the
development of urban environment within the few years of its transformation from a
traditional settlement on the shore of the Arabian Gulf, relying on fishing and pearling,
into a modern state hosting many prestigious international events. The stadiums reflect a
mix of designs inspired by traditional elements of the environment and high technology
based on the latest communication technologies and media as well as modern techniques
in the methods of air conditioning and energy conservation. In addition to the use of
forms, materials and colors inspired by the heritage and environment, such as the old
forts, fishing ships, tents and seashells, the designs provide solutions based on modern
technologies and alternative energy, such as solar energy utilization for air-conditioning
and the operation of big screens for the electronic media. Qatar has provided, through the
designs of new stadiums, sustainable solutions to address the problems of carbon
emissions so that the new stadiums are carbon-neutral, despite what is required of energy
to provide air conditioning necessary for playgrounds and spectators. One of the fears of
the Committee of the World Cup was the high temperature during the months of June and
July, when the temperatures reaches the forties during the daytime and thirties at night.
Qatar's vision and experience to control the temperature in and around the stadiums used
for the games reduces the temperature to 20 degrees from the external environment. An
experimental stadium was constructed to prove the success of this vision.
One of the innovative humanitarian initiatives provided by Qatar was the donation of
the stands, that are not needed after the World Cup, to developing countries that need
them. The sports facilities will be connected to downtown Doha, through a network of
roads and a sophisticated line of new subway so that the length of the journey between
any stadium and the other is not more than one hour so that spectators can attend more
than one game per day and provide time for movement for players, referees and the
media, which therefore reduces the impact of the session on the environment.
The design of new sports facilities in Qatar
The design of stadiums to host the World Cup reflect a cultural identity that Qatar
wants to present to the world. It also reflects what Qatar have reached Qatar in recent
years of urban development and technological advancement that make it compete with
other countries to host global events of cultural, artistic, educational, sports, etc., while
maintaining a local identity stemming from its past and the natural environment
surrounding it. Qatar’s National Vision is to “transform Qatar by the year 2030 to a
developed nation able to achieve sustainable development and ensure the continuation of
a decent living for its people, generation after generation." The Vision addresses five key
challenges facing the State of Qatar; update and maintain the traditions, provide the needs
of the present generation and future generations while achieving the targeted growth and
control of expansion determining the path of development, control the size and quality of
the expatriate labor force to achieve economic and social development and achieve
environmental protection and sustainable development. Qatar is seeking to achieve that
Vision through human, social, economic and environmental development. The selection
of Qatar to host the World Cup in 2022 gives a strong momentum to work towards
achieving this vision.
In spite of the small population of Qatar of 1.7 million inhabitants, according to the
national census issued in October 2010, with about two-thirds expatriates, Qatar was able
to persuade FIFA of its seriousness and determination to successfully host the World Cup
for the first time in a Gulf, Islamic, Arab, and Middle Eastern state, offering a civilized
vision of this part of the world. Qatar has a strong economy as one of the world’s largest
natural gas producers by an increase in gross national product amounted to 17% in 2010
and is expected to continue in the coming years.
In addition to the development of its facilities, especially the important area of the
Aspire Zone, which host Asia Olympic Games in 2006, Qatar has been able the develop
its infrastructure and the construction of many architectural monuments in a few years,
including Qatar's Education City, that hosts branches of a number of U.S. universities in
the disciplines of engineering, medicine, arts, management, and politics, the development
and renewal of the traditional Souq Waqif market and the Museum of Islamic Art of the
Architectural World I. M. Pei, that hosted many prestigious, including the Aga Khan
Awards for Architecture 2010 . In addition and the Pearl Towers and Cultural Village,
many towers, hotels and shopping malls are being constructed in Al-Dafna area, a new
industrial areas has been constructed west of Doha. Qatar is currently constructing a new
airport that is expected to open in 2012. Other major projects in Doha include the full
development of the 35 hectares downtown area known as the "Musheireb", the
establishment of the new City of Lucille, the construction of nine new museums
including the New National Museum by architect Jean Novel.
Expression of Identity in Architecture
Expression of identity in architecture means communicating with the community
where architecture provides an interpretation of values and cultural priorities through
construction techniques and artistic expression that constitute a distinctive mode or a
language of expression, like words and sentences in the literature. But the nature of
expression varies with culture in different places at different times according to patterns
of communication and expressions of its architects and engineers. The expressions are
conducted on national, geographical, historical, religious, intellectual and even political
levels. The expressions of certain patterns in the localities, cities and enterprises may be
life long or short according to their ability to change with cultural patterns.
Many key factors affect creation of a new style of architecture and contribute to the
creation of contemporary and creative expressions of culture through architecture. The
work of these factors on the production and development within each pattern eventually
lead to new approaches to replace the previous one. The components of expression and
communication, including shapes and forms that can be transferred through the
architectural content. The elements that are used in architectural expression interpret the
meanings of specific community through the functions and techniques of buildings.
Qatar plans to construct new stadiums to host the World Cup 2022 in addition to the
renovation of several existing stadiums. The new stadiums include: Al-Shamal Stadium,
Al-Khor Stadium, Al-Wakrah Stadium, Umm Slal Stadium, Education City Stadium,
Doha Port Stadium, Sports City Stadium, and Lusail Stadium. The stadiums scheduled
for renovation are: Al-Rayyan Stadium, Al-Gharafa Stadium, Qatar University Stadium,
Khalifa International Stadium and Al Sad Stadium.
Qatar's plans for the FIFA World Cup 2022 include 12 eco-friendly, carbon-neutral
stadiums. All of the stadiums will utilize the power of the sun rays to provide a cool
environment for players and fans by converting solar energy into electricity that will then
be used to cool both fans and players. When games are not taking place, the solar
installations at the stadiums will export energy onto the power grid. During matches, the
stadiums will draw energy from the grid. This is the basis for the stadiums’ carbonneutrality.
ARUP Associates designed a 5-a-side pitch with a capacity of 500-seats model
stadium which was built to convince FIFA officials of the proposed techniques to control
the region’s hot summer weather. According to AJ, "the air conditioned structure was
designed to be zero carbon throughout, all the energy needed to power the arena’s ‘underseat’ climate control system is collected by a ‘sun farm’ of solar concentrator panels.
With outdoor temperatures in Qatar reaching more 44 degrees Celsius the playing surface
of the stadium can be kept at a comfortable 23 degrees. The structure features a revolving
roof canopy which can be adjusted to cast shade over the pitch or closed completely to
maximize climate control.”
The upper tier of nine of the stadiums will be removed after the tournament. Doha
Port Stadium will be completely modular and will be deconstructed following the World
Cup. During the event, the capacity of most stadiums will be between 40,000 and 50,000
fans, with one much larger stadium for hosting the opening and final matches. When the
tournament ends, the lower tiers of the stadiums will remain in Qatar to accommodate
between 20,000 and 25,000 fans. The smaller stadiums will be suitable for football and
The upper tiers will be sent to developing nations, which often lack sufficient football
infrastructure. Qatar sees sending the stadiums to developing nations as an integral part of
the bid, as doing so will allow for the further development of football on the global stage.
Along with the stadiums, the cooling technologies will be available to other countries in
hot climates, so that they too can host major sporting events.
The proposed stadiums expected to host the World Cup matches include completely
new stadiums in addition to the renovation and refurbishment of currently existing
stadiums. The announced proposals for the construction and renovation of these stadiums
reflect the cultural identity that Qatar is eager to express to the world that integrates the
local cultural identity, derived from traditions and natural environment, with a
globalization generated by the telecommunication and technological revolutions.
The following is an analysis of some projects of stadiums to be constructed or
renovated to host the World Cup finals in Qatar in 2022, according to the Bid site, and
their contribution in building a cultural identity that Qatar is seeking to present to the
world through the building of large facilities.
Al-Shamal stadium, located north of Doha city on the Arabian Gulf, will have a
capacity of 45,120, with a permanent lower tier of 25,500 seats and a modular upper tier
of 19,620 seats. The stadium’s shape is derived from the traditional dhow fishing boat
that was important part of the traditional Gulf economy. In addition to the dhow form of
the stadium, colors and materials reflect the colors and materials used in traditional boats.
Spectators are expected to arrive to the stadium from the expressways, water taxis, the
Bahrain-Qatar Friendship Bridge and a new metro-rail expected to be constructed during
the coming years.
Located in a sports and recreation zone, Al-Khor new 45,330-capacity stadium with a
roof resembling a seashell with a flexible roof providing shade for the field. The
permanent lower tier seats hosts 25,500 spectators while the modular upper tier seats
19,830 spectators. The stadium offers spectators a spectacular view of the Arabian Gulf
from their seats.
Al-Wakrah is located 15 kilometers south of Doha. It is one of Qatar's oldest cities,
with a long history of commercial fishing and pearl diving. Al-Wakrah stadium, with a
capacity of 45,120, takes its inspiration from the sea floor that has played an important
role in the city's history. After the FIFA World Cup the stadium's capacity will be
reduced to 25,500 seats.
Umm Slal Stadium
Located in the vicinity of one of Qatar's most historically important forts, Umm Slal
Stadium will have 45,120 seats. The design is a modern interpretation of traditional Arab
forts, like the one in nearby Umm Slal with its solid zigzagging facade. After the FIFA
World Cup seating capacity will be reduced to 25,500. The stadium will be used by Umm
Slal football club.
Education City Stadium
The Education City Stadium takes the form of a jagged diamond, glittering by day
and glowing by night. The 45,350-seat stadium will be located in the midst of several
university campuses at Education City, easily accessible for fans both in Qatar and in
neighboring Bahrain, which will be only 51 minutes away from the stadium by highspeed rail. Following the FIFA World Cup the stadium will retain 25,000 seats for use by
university athletic teams.
Doha Port Stadium
The new Doha Port will host a new stadium that will be a completely modular
stadium with 44,950 seats. The stadium, which will sit on an artificial peninsula in the
Gulf, is designed to evoke its marine setting resembling the shape of a Sea urchin . Water
from the Gulf will run over its outer facade, aiding in the cooling process and adding to
its visual appearance . Fans will have the option of arriving on a water taxi or ferry. After
the FIFA World Cup the whole stadium will be disassembled and the seats sent to
developing countries to further their football development.
Sports City Stadium
Drawing its inspiration from traditional Arab tents, The Sports City Stadium will
have 47,560 seats. A retractable roof, partly retractable pitch and retractable stands will
make the stadium Qatar's premiere multi-use facility in the decades following the 2022
FIFA World Cup The stadiums innovative features will make it an ideal venue for
football matches, but also concerts, theatre performances and non-football related athletic
Lusail Iconic Stadium
The new Lusail city is located 7 kilometers north of Doha city. It is a new city
composed of 19 neighborhoods surrounding the city center. The new Lusail Iconic
Stadium, with a capacity of 86,250, will host the opening and final matches of the 2022
FIFA World Cup. Lusail’s stadium takes its inspiration from the sail of a traditional dhow
boat and is surrounded by water from all sides. After the FIFA World Cup™, the stadium
will be used to host other spectacular sporting and cultural events.
The existing Al-Rayyan Stadium with a seating capacity of 21,282 will be expanded
to 44,740 seats using modular elements to form an upper tier. The stadium is designed
with a special "media membrane" facade that acts as a screen for projecting news,
updates and current matches. The stadium will be downsized to its current capacity after
The existing 21,175 capacity of Al-Gharafa stadium will be expanded to 44,740 seats
using modular elements forming an upper tier. The facade will be made up of ribbons
representing the nations that qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and will symbolize
football and the mutual friendship, tolerance and respect that the tournament represents.
The stadium will be downscaled to its existing capacity after the tournament ends.
Qatar University Stadium
Replacing an existing track and field stadium on Qatar University's campus, Qatar
University Stadium will have 43,520 seats. The stadiums gold facade blends traditional
Arabic geometric patterns with free-form open surfaces, conjuring both past and future.
The stadium will be used by student athletes following the FIFA World Cup with a
seating capacity of 23,500.
Khalifa International Stadium
Redesigned for Qatar's successful hosting of the 2006 Asian Games, Khalifa
International Stadium's current capacity of 50,000 will be expanded to 68,030 for the
2022 FIFA World Cup The stadium, which includes sweeping arcs and partially covered
stands, is the centerpiece of Aspire Zone, a sports complex that includes the Aspire
Academy for Sports Excellence, ASPETAR Sports Medicine Hospital and many other
Existing Sports Facilities
In addition to the stadiums, Qatar already has several sports facilities that were built
over the previous years. Khalifa Olympic City was built in 1976 to the highest
specifications to host Youth World Cup 1995. This facility comprises a main football
stadium with seating for 40000 spectators, an Olympic-size athletic track, an indoor
sports hall with a capacity of 1800 spectators, a number of multipurpose courts for
basketball volleyball, handball and tennis and a sports medical center established in 1995.
The Aspire, Academy for Sports Excellence, is Qatar's visionary Sports Academy, which
launched its academic curriculum in September 2004. With state-of-the-art facilities and
world class sports programs, it turns hopefuls into winners at the highest levels of
international competition. The Academy also integrates this training with an intensive,
comprehensive intellectual education, giving them all the support they need to succeed.
Established in 1992 to the international standards, Khalifa International Complex for
Tennis and Squash Complex hosts international tennis and squash events on annual basis.
Foremost of these is the international Qatar Open championship. Doha Golf Club,
founded by Qatar National Hotels Company in 1997, hosts all the activities of Qatar Golf
Federation. It has an international standard course on which the prestigious Qatar Masters
tournament is held annually since 1998. Hamad International Complex for Water Sports,
situated next to Khalifa Olympic Stadium, is designed to the Olympic and international
standard technologies and specifications. It has the required most advanced equipment
and installations that qualify it to host all local and world-class tournaments.
Qatar will need to work hard day and night to achieve this ambitious goal, which is
consistent with its National Vision. The event will be a driving force for neighboring
countries to help Qatar in achieving its objectives and benefit from the existence of this
global event in the neighborhood. New employment and investment opportunities will be
created in all sectors and at all levels. The main sectors that will benefit from this
investment are construction, utilities, transportation, aviation, tourism, hotels, sports,
housing and sustainable energy.
Qatar’s hosing of the World Cup in 2022 is not a small event. It is expected that 3.2
billion viewers from around the world will be watching the events. Qatar’s centralized
location in the world provides the opportunity for 82% of the world countries to watch
the live broadcasting of matches in the appropriate times. Qatar offers through its Bid to
host the World Cup in 2022 a modern and sophisticated future for the Gulf States, Arab
countries, Islamic world and the Middle East, who is eager to participate positively in the
global events and sets new challenges for the development of technology to create
effective sustainable solutions to achieve the aspirations of a renewable humanity.
Source: The official site of Qatar Bid 2022