All images courtesy of SDCL
The reconstruction of Khalifa International Stadium is making “rapid progress” and will become Qatar’s first completed World Cup venue when work wraps up by the end of next year, the local organizing committee said.
Since efforts began last last year to redevelop the stadium in the Aspire Zone, 90 percent of the structural concrete (42,000 cubic meters) has been laid and the remainder is expected to be done in the next two months.
New seating levels have been added to double the stadium’s capacity to 40,000. Meanwhile, the arena’s iconic arch on its eastern end has been removed and will be replaced with two arches.
The concrete structure is being strengthened and is nearly at full-height, with the skeleton of the stadium expected to be complete by the end of this year, according to a statement released last night by the Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy (SCDL).
Organizers said they are planning for the stadium to be handed over to them by the end of 2016.
Khalifa Stadium, which is nearly 40 years old, is being remodeled to meet FIFA regulations for the hosting group, round of 16 and quarter-final World Cup matches.
The seated areas will be covered by a “tent”, which will provide shade for around 70 percent of the stadium. This is being fabricated in the US and assembled in Mexico. It is expected to be shipped to Doha “soon” and will be fixed using German-made cabling.
On the arena’s east wing there will be a building housing the new 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, which will include items and interactive exhibits demonstrating Qatar’s growing relationship with sports.
The upper and lower levels of the wing will also feature food courts, shops, multi-purpose rooms, VIP lounges and a health center, SDCL said when it revealed the design for the stadium in November last year.
Mansoor Saleh B. Al-Muhannadi, Project Manager at Aspire Zone Foundation, said of the stadium’s refurbishment:
“We are very happy with the rapid progress of renovation works at the site. Khalifa International Stadium is moving to new heights with structural work in concrete and steel, and the vertical structure is now at level eight while strengthening works are also underway.”
One of Qatar’s oldest stadiums, Khalifa was originally built in 1976 as a 20,000-seater venue when Qatar hosted the Gulf Cup that year.
It has been upgraded several times, including for the 2006 Asian Games, and will be the host venue for the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics, which Qatar secured last year.
The Aspire Zone Foundation is leading construction works on the project, while the main contractors are a joint venture comprised of local contracting firm Midmac and a subsidiary of Belgium-headquartered Besix Group (Six Construct).
Dar Al Handasah and Projacs are the design consultant and project manager, respectively.
Although the 2022 World Cup will now take place in the winter, cooling technology will still be used across the field, spectators’ area and the surrounding concourse.
It is expected to be similar to the system which was tested during the open air fan zone hosted in Katara Cultural Village as spectators watched matches from the Brazil World Cup last summer.
The same technology, which cooled air temperatures by 12C, has also been successfully tested on a full-size football pitch.
Amid concerns over workers’ welfare, the SCDL said in its statement that 3,300 people have been employed on the site and have completed 3.2 million man-hours “without recordable accidents”.
So far, Qatar has named eight locations for World Cup venues, although it has only released the designs for four of them. Architect firm Foster + Partners is working on the final concepts for the flagship stadium at Lusail City, which will host the opening ceremony and final match of the 2022 tournament.
Work is already underway on stadiums in Al Wakrah, Al Khor and Education City. Al Rayyan is being razed and rebuilt, although the design scheme for this hasn’t formally been announced yet.
There are set to be venues at two others sites – Qatar Sports Club in Dafna/West Bay and another arena near Hamad International Airport. While the SCDL previously said on these is expected to get underway later this year, it hasn’t issued any further update on these locations.
Qatar made its bid on the basis of games on 12 sites, but it is expected to pare that number, with an official decision to be announced by the end of this year. FIFA requires at least eight venues to be used to host the 64 matches during the international tournament.