By Yasir Al Jamal
We have passed a number of exciting milestones during 2018, which culminated with unveiling the design for Lusail Stadium – the venue that will host the opening and final matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
With just under four years to go until the tournament kicks off, we have reached the peak construction phase. Seven stadiums are currently under construction, with two set to be completed in the very near future: Al Wakrah Stadium and Al Bayt Stadium – Al Khor City.
Football fans locally and across the world have some exciting designs to look forward to. Inspired by the traditional Bedouin tent, Al Bayt Stadium looks set to be an iconic Qatar 2022 venue, while Al Wakrah Stadium – inspired by the late Zaha Hadid – will reflect the city’s seafaring traditions.
Yasir Al Jamal is vice chairman of the Technical Delivery Office, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy
Another unique design is coming to life with the development of Al Thumama Stadium, which was designed by Qatari architect Ibrahim M Jaidah. This venue will be shaped like the traditional ‘gahfiya’ headdress and symbolise what football means to young people across the region.
Al Rayyan Stadium has also grown rapidly, with its glowing façade, made from patterns that characterise different aspects of the traditional Qatari houses, soon to be installed. As well as Education City Stadium, that we nickname ‘diamond in the desert’, where the extraordinarily complex ‘big lift’ was recently completed.
Innovation drives everything we do across our infrastructure portfolio. In May 2017, when we inaugurated Khalifa International Stadium – our first tournament venue – we showcased cooling technology for the benefit of fans and players. While the outside temperature was 38C, it was just 22C inside the open-air stadium. Everyone who attended was amazed.
We also remain committed to building stadiums with a sustainable legacy that eliminates ‘white elephants’. The prime example of this thinking is Ras Abu Aboud Stadium. Here, we challenged ourselves to push the boundaries of what is possible in terms of stadium engineering. The resulting design is a fully demountable venue, built in part from shipping containers, which can be dismantled and used to create new facilities after the tournament.
Most of our stadiums will include demountable upper tiers. These will make way for facilities which the community can use on a daily basis, and ensure we have fitting post-tournament usage of the new buildings we are creating.
With 2018 we also say goodbye to a great year of learnings for our team as we actively participated in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia. A delegation of 120 SC employees, that included all of the project managers that are delivering our unique stadiums, worked closely with the LOC during the tournament and gained great experience in stadium management, crowd management, ticketing, security and maintenance.
While stadium construction work continues to advance, at the most Northern tip of Qatar, the SC tree nursery is growing thousands of trees and the grass for the stadium precincts and pitches, using recycled water.
We want to enthrall fans who visit Qatar for the first FIFA World Cup in the Arab world. All our stadiums are designed to enhance the fan experience and will be equipped with the latest technology, sound systems and acoustic designs that make for an incredible atmosphere.
And as we all know – thanks to Qatar’s compact tournament plans – fans who attend our World Cup will have the chance to attend more than one match a day, as the longest distance between venues is just 55km, a short journey that will be seamless thanks to the invaluable support of key stakeholders such as Ashgal and Qatar Rail.
2018 has been a landmark year for our project and we are looking forward to making further progress in 2019 and beyond.
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