It’s a diamond-patterned exterior based on the knitted white cap traditionally worn by Arab men. The Al Thumama Stadium has been designed by Qatari architect Ibrahim M Jaidah and it can seat 40,000 spectators for matches up to the quarter-final stage during the 2022 Fifa World Cup football tournament. The stadium is modelled on the gahfiya—a tightly-fitted cap worn by Arab men and boys as part of their traditional dress. The circular stadium will be punctured with diamond-shaped perforations that form larger rhombic shapes with rounded forms set in between. The innovative venue aims at representing the Arab community to the whole world. The stadium will also feature a circular opening in the roof and cooling systems, so it can be used for sporting activities all year round. The site in Al Thumama is also popular for what won’t be built there for Fifa. Roughly a decade before the new plans, it was here that the Qatari authorities were planning to build the first underground stadium, with almost all fans located and covered below ground level. This time, such a measure is not possible due to the Fifa-required capacity of 40,000 people, five times greater than from years back.
The new Al Thumama stadium will have a smooth and simple outer form, covered with white cladding. It is the cladding, which has openings that create a stunning, intricate pattern, mimicking that of the traditional Arabic headdress. It’s the first Qatari stadium to be designed primarily by local architects, led by Ibrahim M Jaidah, in cooperation with global giants Heerim. The authorities are looking at Al Thumama stadium to become a sporting landmark that will be a favourite among the region’s sports fans. It is an idea to demonstrate to future generations just how unique the Qatar World Cup will be. The Qatar tournament will kick off on November 21, 2022 instead of in its usual summer slot to ensure that temperatures are cool enough for the players. The stadium is located at Al Thurmama, a neighbourhood in the capital city of Doha, which is 6 km from the waterfront promenade, Corniche, and close to metro stations on Qatar Rail’s Red Line. It is set to be one of the most central of the eight venues expected to be completed ahead of the tournament in 2022. Prior to the construction, Al Thumama stadium’s site was occupied by four Qatar Football Association training pitches, which hosted the early rounds of the Workers’ Cup, an initiative launched by the authorities to enable migrant workers across Qatar to play competitive football.
Though not underground, the stadium is expected to provide superb cooling technologies, able to bring temperature inside down to just 18 degrees during the Fifa tournament. Afterwards, the building’s volume will not decrease, but the capacity will be halved. Most of the upper ring will travel to developing countries, while an elegant patio with a boutique hotel will be created instead. Lusail Stadium will seat 86,000 people and stage the opening ceremony, as well as the tournament’s showpiece. Plans for Ras Abu Aboud, another stadium, which will sit just across the water from Doha city centre, are also to be announced. However, four other stadiums—Al Bayt Stadium, Al Rayyan Stadium, Al Wakrah Stadium, Qatar Foundation Stadium—have already been revealed, with completion dates all set for between 2018 and 2019. All seven of the new stadiums are already under construction, with the eighth, the Khalifa International Stadium, already built as this mammoth project continues.