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issue 50 - 50 June/July 2019
CURVE magazine cover 50 June/July 2019
Architecture  Focus  


A World Cup Stadium Embraces Traditional Elements

Designed by the ZHA Project Team at Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar was created according to a brief by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar and represents the very best of modern stadium design. The client's brief was for a 40,000 seat football stadium for the 2022 World Cup which could be reduced to 20,000 seats following the tournament. 20,000 seats would be optimal for legacy use as the home ground of the Al Wakrah Sport Club professional football team of the Qatar Stars national league. The temporary seats have been designed to be demountable and transportable to a developing country in need of sporting infrastructure for post tournament usage.

The stadium has an operable roof and a seating bowl cooling system that ensures it can be used during Qatar's summer months. The roof has been designed in sympathy with the cladding using pleated PTFE fabric and cables. When deployed, the roof operates like a sail to cover the oculus above the field of play and create a sheltered environment for football during the summer. Passive design principles along with computer modeling and wind tunnel tests were used to maximize the effectiveness of the physical enclosure to ensure player and spectator comfort. Given the stadium's context within the coastal city of Al Wakrah, the client asked that its design reflect the maritime traditions and history of the location, in particular, the traditional boat of the region, the dhow. ZHA responded with a design that incorporates these cultural references in an abstracted manner and combines them with practical responses to the climate, context and the functional requirements of a football stadium. The abstraction transforms the literal into something new and appropriate for a football stadium; allowing multiple interpretations of these cultural references both in terms of how they are applied and how they are read.

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