Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) and Aecom began designing the stadium back in March 2013. Located in the city of Al Wakrah, 23km south of Doha and connected to the capital via the Red Line of new Doha Metro system, the stadium is one of the venues for the 2022 World Cup and will host the group and quarter-final matches of the tournament.
Some 40,000 seats were included in the brief for the stadium, with the possibility of reducing to a 20,000 seat capacity in its legacy mode after the tournament. The temporary seats are demountable and transportable to a developing country in need of sporting infrastructure for post-tournament usage.
The stadium’s operable roof was designed by Schlaich Bergermann Partner, along with a seating bowl cooling system, to ensure the stadium can be used during the summer months. The roof was designed with pleated PTFE fabric and cables and when deployed, the roof operates like a sail to cover the oculus above the pitch, providing shelter.
The client asked for the design to reflect the maritime traditions and history of the coastal city. ZHA incorporated the cultural references, combining them with the functional requirements of the stadium and climate. The roof’s design abstractly shows the hulls of dhows turned upside-down and huddled together to provide shade and shelter. This is expressed through the stadium’s envelope geometry, details and selected materials to echo the interior structure of a dhow’s hull. Continuing with the cultural elements within the design, the facade slants outwards, tapered in elevation, as a reminder of the pleating of a dhow’s sails.
Emphasising the stadium’s unique geometry, the opaque roof and walls are expressed as pleated cross sections. The origins of this feature lies in Arabic motifs and calligraphy, adding texture to the outer shell.
The external building’s colour scheme complements its geometric forms with the roof cladding and opaque surfaces above the eaves being white or off-white with a gloss finish that is reminiscent of sea shells.
The lattice screen print of the lower-level facades are a metallic bronze colour to add a sense of depth to the design and offers respect to the traditions and artistry of Islamic craftsmanship.