Hadid-Designed World Cup Stadium Officially Opens
On May 16, Al Wakrah—one of eight stadiums slated for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar—held an official opening ceremony, followed by an inaugural match.
Al Wakrah Stadium – a FIFA World Cup #Qatar2022 tournament venue – will be inaugurated tonight for the 2019 Amir Cup Final. Good luck to @AlsaddSC and @DuhailSC.#AmirCup2019 #SeeYouInAlWakrah#Seeyouin2022 pic.twitter.com/6f7YqPrW9l— ???? ??????? ??????? (@GCOQatar) May 16, 2019
The stadium was was one of the last designs by the late British-Iraqi architect, Zaha Hadid, and was carried out by Patrik Schumacher and team, Zaha Hadid Architects.
First unveiled in 2013, the structure was commissioned by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (the group responsible for the stadiums and infrastructure for the 2022 FIFA World Cup), with construction breaking ground in 2014.
In addition to Zaha Hadid Architects, design firm AECOM, as well as engineering firm Besix and general contracting joint venture MIDMAC, PORR Qatar and Six Construct Qatar, were responsible for the project.
The sails of traditional wooden dhow boats, a traditional Arab vessel used for pearl diving, fishing and trading, inspired the 40,000-seat ultramodern stadium.
Countdown to the inauguration of the World Cup’s first stadium, Al Wakrah. -1 ???? ???? pic.twitter.com/mTWHTYC72z— ??????? ?? ???? ???? (@AbMS19) May 15, 2019
“We wanted to respond to the client’s brief, which was to do something which resonated with Al Wakrah, so we started by looking at the dhow,” says Jim Heverin, Director at Zaha Hadid Architects.
“We didn’t want to literally blow up a dhow boat so we looked at abstracting it in order to create something dynamic and organic—something that has multiple interpretations.”
One of the stadium’s biggest features is its fully retractable roof, making it possible to host games all year around. Technology within the stadium also makes it possible to cool spectating areas to 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit) and the field 20 degrees C (68 degrees F).
Because of the stadium’s modular construction, following the World Cup, the venue plans to cut seating in half, with excess seats being donated to various other sporting projects.
Before the 2022 FIFA World Cup can officially take off, Qatar still has six other stadiums to deliver on before the world-reported series of games. Already, the Khalifa International Stadium completed renovations in 2017, while the Al Wakrah is the first brand-new venue to open.
"I am certain that in 2022 Al Wakrah Stadium will be one of the most iconic venues at the World Cup, and it gives us all a sense of great pride to be opening the second Qatar 2022 stadium with three and a half years to go," said Jassim Al Jassim, head of venues operations at the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy.
While the Al Bayt Stadium also plans to open this year, other stadiums—Lusail, Al Rayyan and Qatar Foundation—won’t see completion until 2021.
The final two stadiums are in planning, but designs have not been released at this time. Other stadiums have also been proposed to bring the total to 12, but with such little time before the World Cup, it is likely these projects will be denied.