Showcasing sustainability for the 2022 Qatar World Cup through innovative design
In early December 2010, it was announced that Qatar had been successful in its bid to host the 2022 Soccer World Cup. A cloud of controversy blew up as critics raised concerns over the Middle Eastern state’s ability to hold an athletic event of this magnitude given the region’s extreme heat during the summer months.
During a recent film interview with WAN at Ropemaker Place (to be published in an upcoming issue of News Review), Arup Associates’ Sustainability Leader Michael Beaven opened up about the success of The Showcase: a carbon zero model stadium designed by Arup Associates for the Qatar bid and one of the main components that clinched the deal.
As the photographs and diagrams to the left detail, The Showcase is a small, 500-seater arena which demonstrates the architectural and engineering possibilities afforded by modern technology which should enable Qatar to provide suitable venues for the sporting contest ten years from now.
Arup Associates' approach was threefold: blend traditional passive design ideas with innovative technology for an energy-saving and comfortable architectural result; insert photovoltaic panels to exploit the sun’s energy; and transfer the sun’s heat into cooling air-conditioning systems.
The overarching roof canopy can be manoeuvred to protect the venue’s users from the harsh winds or beating sun during a match, taking advantage of natural ventilation when appropriate, or closed before a match commences to enable the stadium to make full use of the under-seat cooling system, lowering the temperature to a more comfortable level.
The sustainable properties are not only confined to the main stadium however. On the volume’s periphery is a solar farm of photovoltaic panels and Fresnel parabolic mirrors which redirect the sun’s energy onto a series of pipes which convert this energy into a usable commodity.
Energy collected from the photovoltaic panels is transferred to the National Grid when the stadium is not in use and coupled with electricity generated from biofuels on the more demanding match days. The level of electricity generated in this way from the sun exceeds the amount of electricity imported for events over the year, making the facility carbon zero for electricity.
A meadow of motorised mirrors move with the sun like sunflowers and capture solar energy which is directed onto collecting tubes filled with hot water which reaches 200°C. This is converted into cooling within the facility through the use of absorption chillers and eutectic tanks, and then used to power lighting and other necessary functions.
Air-conditioning technology cools the interior space under the spectators’ seats and reduces the temperature of the internal space to well below the guidelines set out by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) medical committee.
This ingenious small-scale stadium by Arup Associates looks to counter prior misconceptions that arid locations are incapable of hosting major sporting events and does so with flair and panache. Only time will tell if the new stadiums for the Qatar 2022 World Cup will boast such successful credentials.