The FIFA World Cup 2022 tournament starts soon, with the first match, between Qatar and Ecuador, on 20 November. The games will be played in 8 stadiums, build, or some fully renovated, specifically for the event, each more impressive than the next.
1. Al Bayt Stadium
The Al Bayt Stadium has a capacity of 60,000 seats, is located in the city of Al Khor, about 35km north of Doha and will host the opening match of the tournament. The arena’s upper tier was designed to be removed after the tournament, allowing the recommissioning of seats.
Inspired by the bayt al sha’ar of Qatar’s nomadic people, the stadium’s Bedouin tent structure envelopes an ultra-modern football stadium. Traditionally, the tents are identified by black and white stripes. This is reflected on the arena’s distinctive exterior, as are the vibrant sadu patterns that greet fans once inside.
2. Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
The Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium has a capacity of 40,000 seats and is located in Umm Al Afaei, 20km west of central Doha, eight on the edge of the desert. More than 80% of the construction material came from the original stadium that previously occupied the site, while existing trees were also carefully retained.
The stadium’s design, and that of its surrounding buildings, mirrors aspects of the local culture and traditions. The intricate façade reflects the undulations of sand dunes while intricate geometric patterns reflect the beauty of the desert, native flora and fauna, as well as local and international trade.
3. Al Janoub Stadium
The Al Janoub Stadium has a capacity of 40,000 seats and is located in Al Wakrah, one of Qatar’s oldest continuously inhabited areas, 22km south of central Doha. After the tournament, the arena’s capacity will be reduced, with seats donated to other sporting projects around the world.
The stadium’s design reflects the wind-filled sails of Qatar’s traditional dhow boats, in tribute to Al Wakrah’s fishing and pearl diving past.
4. Al Thumama Stadium
The Al Thumama Stadium has a capacity of 40,000 seats and is located in Al Thumama Stadium, 12km south of central Doha.
Its bold, circular form reflects the gahfiya – the traditional woven cap worn by men and boys in the Arab world. An integral part of family life and central to traditions, the gahfiya symbolises the coming of age for youth.
5. Education City Stadium
The Education City Stadium has a capacity of 40,000 seats and is located in Al Rayyan, a learning and knowledge centre, 7km north-west of central Doha. After the tournament, more amenities will be added to the stadium area, meant to keep the academic community stimulated outside the classroom.
The stadium’s ultra-modern design blends with traditional Islamic architecture. On the exterior, triangles create complex diamond-like geometrical patterns shining in the sunlight. At night, a digital light show illuminates the façade, giving fans a remarkable surprise performance.
6. Khalifa International Stadium
The Khalifa International Stadium has a capacity of 40,000 seats and is located in Aspire, 5km west of central Doha. The arena has hosted a long list of sporting events since its inauguration in 1976 and was completely renovated for the World Cup, with an extra tier, adding 12,000 seats, digital lighting and a modern façade.
The stadium’s dual arches are its most recognisable feature so they were kept, but revamped with a wide canopy stretched out below them to complement the stadium’s cooling system and maintain a comfortable temperature for players and fans alike.
7. Stadium 974
Stadium 974 has a capacity of 40,000 seats and is located in Ras Abu Aboud, 10km east of central Doha. Constructed entirely from shipping containers and modular steel, it is the world’s first fully demountable covered football stadium. After the tournament, the containers and structure will be reused, a waterfront development boasting facilities for the local community and a business hub replacing the arena.
Situated in the portside area, this unique venue pays tribute to Qatar’s long-standing tradition of worldwide trade and seafaring. 974 is the international dialling code for Qatar and, uncoincidentally, the exact number of shipping containers used for the stadium’s construction.
8. Lusail Stadium
Last but not least, Qatar’s biggest stadium, Lusail, with a capacity of 80,000 people and 20km north of central Doha will host the tournament’s final on 18 December. Afterwards, according to Qatar’s dedication to sustainable development, the seats will be donated and the arena transformed into a community space of schools, shops, cafés, sporting facilities and health clinics.
The design reflects the hand-crafted bowls found all across the Arab and Islamic world during the rise of civilisation, while interplays of light mirror the fanar lanterns of the region. With the passing of time, the golden exterior will fade replicating aged metal handicrafts.