‘Stadium 974 is one-of-a-kind’
The remarkable Stadium 974 was unveiled earlier this month. It is the seventh tournament-ready venue for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and is best-known for its innovative design, which features repurposed shipping containers. The stadium is also famous for being the first fully demountable venue in World Cup history. The concept of the stadium was designed by Fenwick Iribarren Architects.
Construction began in 2018 on a site formerly owned by QatarEnergy. The location and pioneering design meant construction waste was kept to a minimum. It also shortened the project’s duration and cost when compared to similar developments.
Ahead of Stadium 974’s opening match – between the United Arab Emirates and Syria in the FIFA Arab Cup™ on Tuesday 30 November – Qatar2022.qa spoke to Engineer Mohammed Al Mulla, Precinct Director of Stadium 974, to discuss the journey from construction to launch.
What makes Stadium 974 so special?
I think everything about the stadium demonstrates Qatar’s ability to deliver outstanding projects in terms of innovation and sustainability. It is a one-of-a-kind stadium and an innovative blueprint for future mega-event hosts. It is a great example of thinking outside the box. In 2022, fans will be amazed with the facilities here – especially the fact the concession stands, toilets and medical rooms are all shipping containers. Both visually and conceptually, it is fascinating.
What is the significance of the stadium’s name?
974 is the number of shipping containers used in the development. It is also Qatar’s international dialling code. Furthermore, the stadium is situated near Doha Port, Hamad International Airport and Doha Airport. It will be the first stadium fans see when they arrive in Qatar. In more ways than one, it can be regarded as a gateway to the country.
What kind of challenges did you face during the project?
There were many challenges! Probably the biggest challenge we faced was working out the best possible way to build the stadium. This was actually the last venue to begin construction – and this is because we conducted multiple studies. Our original idea was actually inspired by a Lego set and we eventually decided to use shipping containers and recycled steel for the stadium. These elements can both be recycled after the tournament if necessary.
How important was the stadium’s location to the construction process?
The stadium narrates the history of the area. This location was previously used by QatarEnergy – formerly known as Qatar Petroleum. The stadium faces Old Doha Port, which was the first commercial hub in the country. Just hearing ‘Old Port’ makes people locally think of shipping containers. The local area – Ras Abu Aboud – is also very strategic. It is close to the Doha Corniche and only 800 metres from the nearest metro station. The location also benefits from natural cooling due to the design and bowl structure. This is actually the only stadium without cooling technology. And, of course, the stadium sits opposite the West Bay skyline, so benefits from some of the best views in the country.
As someone involved in the project from the very start, what does it mean to you to see Stadium 974 completed?
I’m absolutely speechless! We are now approaching the opening of the stadium on the first day of the Arab Cup. As a team, we are so proud of this achievement. I feel honoured to have had the chance to work on a project that supports Qatar’s development. Words cannot describe how I feel. I have treated the stadium like my home for the last few years and cannot wait for the official inauguration.