Foster + Partners has revealed its newly completed stadium for the FIFA World Cup 2022, which will be used to host the final game of the soccer tournament later this year. Arguably the most exquisitely designed of the eight new stadiums created for the tournament, the building draws on local traditions and takes the form of a large shimmering golden bowl.
Created in collaboration with stadium expert Populous and engineering giant Arup, the Lusail Stadium was first revealed in 2010, though the design has evolved in the dozen years since. It’s located in Lusail City, which is 20 km (almost 12.5 miles) north of the Qatari capital Doha.
Tradition has been a major theme with the new Qatari stadiums: the Al Thumama Stadium draws on traditional headwear and the Al Bayt Stadium looks like a huge nomadic tent, for example. The Lusail Stadium, meanwhile, is inspired by the hand-crafted golden bowls found throughout the Arab and Islamic world, says Foster + Partners. Its exterior sports triangular openings that help fill the interior with dappled light.
“In-depth analysis of the brief and the client’s requirements, together with an appreciation of the climatic and cultural heritage of Qatar, formed the basis of the design,” explained Foster + Partners. “The seating bowl is expressed externally as a burnished golden vessel, which sparkles against the sunlight. The facade features triangular openings that visually reinforce the bowl’s structural diagrid and form a perforated screen to provide shade and filter dappled light on to the internal concourses.”
Lusail Stadium has capacity for 80,000 people and is topped by a cable-net roof with a diameter of 307 m (roughly 1,000 ft), making it one of the largest tensile cable-net roofs used in a stadium in the world. The tensile roof structure also means that it doesn’t require supporting columns.
According to FIFA – soccer’s international governing body – recycled water will be used to irrigate the plants around the stadium and this is combined with water-saving fixtures and leak-detection systems to reduce overall water waste. FIFA also suggests that once the World Cup tournament comes to a close, the venue could be repurposed to host retail areas, restaurants, health clinics, a school, or even affordable housing.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 tournament has been a huge architectural undertaking and has included the creation of a “cooling” stadium by Zaha Hadid Architects, Fenwick-Iribarren Architects’ Diamond in the Desert, and a neat demountable stadium made from shipping containers, also by Fenwick-Iribarren Architects.
The push to get everything built has also resulted in controversy, however, and has involved widespread accusations of worker deaths, terrible working conditions, and even allegations of slavery by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and others.