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Monday, May 10, 2021

Foster + Partners win bid to design Qatar’s Lusail World Cup stadium

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Lusail Stadium rendering, as submitted by Qatar during bid process.
Lusail Stadium rendering, as submitted by Qatar during bid process.

The firm led by British architect Sir Norman Foster will design Qatar’s flagship football stadium at Lusail city, which will host the World Cup opening ceremony and final match in 2022, the local organizing committee has confirmed.

Lusail Stadium, which is the eighth Qatar venue to be confirmed, is expected to be the largest of Qatar’s World Cup arenas, with the capacity to seat 80,000 people.

It will feature an open-air pitch that can be cooled to 26C using cooled and shaded spectator stands, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) said in a statement yesterday.

Lusail Stadium rendering, as submitted by Qatar during bid process.
Lusail Stadium rendering, as submitted by Qatar during bid process.

Foster + Partners will collaborate with sports and stadium experts including ARUP and Populous to create the final design for the arena, which will be an “iconic, contemporary stadium inspired by Qatari culture,”the committee’s Secretary General Hassan Al Thawadi said.

Details of the final design have yet to be publicly revealed, though a preliminary rendering was submitted when Qatar first bid for the World Cup five years ago.

Describing his ethos for the new stadium, Foster, who is chairman and founder of Foster + Partners, said: “This is an exciting step forward in stadium design – it will be the first to break the mold of the free-standing suburban concept, and instead anticipates the grid of this future city, of which it will be an integral part.”

He continued:

“The project also pioneers the idea of an ongoing life for the stadium beyond the big event. The environmental strategies, particularly those that address the players as well as the spectators, will also be of international interest to the sporting public as well as those concerned with the architecture.”

Workers’ rights

All contracts for the Lusail stadium project will be governed by the SCDL’s Workers Welfare Standards, which were announced in 2013 and outline a number of basic rights that all contractors working on World Cup-related projects in Qatar are required to follow.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Among the provisions of the charter are that workers engaged directly or indirectly on World Cup projects enjoy health safety, equality in terms of rights irrespective of belief, nationality ethnicity and religion, access to accurate information regarding workers’ rights and safer living conditions.

Qatar Foundation also has a similar charter, and last month public works authority Ashghal was said to be considering adopting a scheme that would stipulate guaranteed minimum living and working conditions.

Qatar has come under intense international scrutiny for its treatment of migrant workers since it was announced as host city for the 2022 World Cup.

Following yesterday’s announcement about Lusail, human rights activists appealed to Lord Foster to ensure the arena will be built ethically. Speaking to the Independent, Amnesty International researcher Mustafa Qadri said:

“Whether or not Sir Norman speaks out on Qatar’s exploitative labor conditions, he should scrupulously ensure that his company and those with which it does business are not complicit in human-rights violations taking place in Qatar.”

Foster + Partners has designed dozens of landmark buildings throughout the world, and is currently drawing up plans for an extension to the passenger terminal at Hamad International Airport (HIA), which opened last year.

Other projects in the Gulf include the design of the new passenger terminal being built at Kuwait International Airport and the under-construction Zayed National Museum on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.

Other stadiums

Lusail Stadium is the eighth arena to be confirmed as a venue for hosting World Cup matches in Qatar.

While the nation made its bid on the basis of games on 12 sites, it is expected to pare that number, with an official decision to be announced this year. FIFA requires at least eight venues to be used to host the 64 matches during the international tournament.

Al Khor Al Bayt Stadium
Al Khor Al Bayt Stadium

So far, the SC has revealed the designs for four of the stadiums.

Al Wakrah stadium was the first to be revealed, and has been designed by British architect Zaha Hadid. Along with the 60,000-seater Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor, it is set for completion in 2018.

Khalifa International Stadium at Aspire Zone will be extensively remodeled, but will retain its iconic arcs and include an Olympic and sports museum among its facilities when it is set to be the first finished stadium in 2016.

Also set to be built by the end of 2018 is the Qatar Foundation stadium in Education City.

Qatar Foundation stadium rendering
Qatar Foundation stadium rendering

That venue has been dubbed the “diamond in the desert” due to the design of its geometric patterns that appear to change color as the sun arcs across the sky, architect Mark Fenwick said when the stadium design was unveiled in December.

Expected to seat 40,000 spectators, it will be used for matches through to the quarter finals.

While organizers have said that Al Rayyan Stadium will be totally rebuilt rather than just refurbished as was originally planned, they have not yet revealed a design for this venue.

Other confirmed sites for stadiums include Qatar Sports Club in Dafna/West Bay, and another venue near the new airport.

Work on these is expected to get underway in the second quarter of 2015.

Meanwhile, speculation on the dates for the World Cup in Qatar should end soon, as FIFA is expected to confirm on March 19 when the tournament will take place – likely in the cooler winter months.

Thoughts?

18 COMMENTS

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Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago

There is something a bit vague about this. As DN reports:
“Details of the final design have yet to be publicly revealed, though a preliminary rendering was submitted when Qatar first bid for the World Cup five years ago.”

I found a 2010 quote which discussed the Lusail stadium as follows:

“The design of the stadium provides fans with optimum views of the action in a cool and comfortable setting. Its beauty and ambition represent the pride and enthusiasm that we have displayed in our bid thus far and will continue to display until the day FIFA awards the 2022 World Cup and beyond.”

But last May we were told that all the designs submitted for the Lusail Stadium were discarded, and a new shortlist of 4 firms was drawn up, inviting each to submit new bids:

The new shortlist comes after a previous plan was scrapped, as the organisers felt the designs did not “reflect modern Qatari design and culture”. As a result, the four shortlisted practices, whose proposals were submitted last week, have been asked to attend workshops “to ensure the fresh design met expectations”.

So is this, or is this not, still the original design, or will it be a completely new design?

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

The one we’ve published is the old design submitted with Qatar’s bid. It will most likely change, as many of the other stadium designs have.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  ShabinaKhatri

It’s weird to me that when the stadiums were included in the original bid, they were spoken of as being the final designs, or at least that was the impression I got.
Although this was back when the bid was for 12 stadiums (now changed) designed by various architects (now changed) to play a summer world cup (now all but changed). Expect… anything other than what you were originally expecting!

MA GreenH
MA GreenH
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

You are obviously not in the Construction industry here then if you think that is weird…I doubt that there is one single project built here that ended up the same as the concept designs, it the Qatari norm to chop and change throughout a projects life

AEC
AEC
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

The punch line is they’re actually going to hold it in 2024 in Australia…

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

see my comment above

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

I think someone forgot to include the karak stall.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

What happens in virtually all signature Qatari projects is that preliminary designs consisting of pretty pictures and some formulaic text are submitted based on a Client brief written on the back of the envelope or given verbally by some Sheik in a coffee shop at midnight (on the last one I kid you not). The prettiest pictures are then chosen and the successful architect virtually writes the brief out of which will appear a workable design.

Guest
Guest
6 years ago

It’s good that they are starting to pay more attention to workers rights, which could easily be forgotten when there is a lot of money involved.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

Was that a joke?

sicti
sicti
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

For sure!

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

So the stadium that looks like a vagina represents Qatari culture and design? I’m confused.

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

The architect (Zaha Hadid) claims the design is inspired by Arabic dhows, which is quite an interesting thought, considering that the Wakrah Stadium looks almost identical to her Tokyo 2020 Stadium.

As far as I am aware, Tokyo is not known as a home to many Arabic dhows.

Maybe, just maybe, architects become known for a style, design whatever they please, and then tell their clients whatever they wish to hear.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Yep, sell them and sell it hard.

dubious
dubious
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Architects spout bollo*ks about design? Say it isn’t so!

Diego
Diego
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael Fryer

Actually if you look at the Saddledome in Calgary,Alberta,Canada one can see the similarity.I believe that one was supposed to be a cowboy saddle likeness.To each their own.

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Representing Qatari culture? Then it should be shaped like a Land Cruiser.

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

No doubt that we’ll soon get wonderful words about the legacy that this stadium will bring to the underprivileged in Qatar and it’s possible future conversion to workers accommodation. Y’know, I was never so cynical until I came to Qatar.

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