The recently completed Al Thumama Stadium is like a huge turban discarded in the desert of Qatar, ready for the 2022 World Cup.The eye-catching design of the stadium is inspired by gahfiya, a traditional woven headscarf worn in the Middle East to help spectators and athletes maintain a comfortable temperature.
Al Thumama Stadium was designed by Qatar architect Ibrahim M Jaidah. It can hold 40,000 spectators and will host 8 football matches until and including the quarter-finals. According to the architect, similar to the way gahfiya protects people’s heads from the sun, the stadium will keep the players and spectators cool, with the help of a complex cooling system that includes water spray,air conditionerwithfan.
Players need cooler air than spectators because they are running, and the designer’s task is to keep everyone at a comfortable temperature. The challenge they encountered was to provide the correct technology and temperature for different areas of the stadium. In Al Thumama, the cold air is closer to the audience. Here, the designer cools the air under the seat, and recycles and purifies it in the venue. Al Thumama also benefits from its completely white appearance, thanks to its replica gahfiya design, which reflects the sun and helps keep the stadium cool.
Al Thumama does have important green designs to reduce its carbon footprint. Grey water is reused to irrigate vegetation and trees covering most of the nearby areas, and part of the stadium’s electricity comes from a huge array of solar panels installed nearby. A single solar array powers the building’s air-conditioning system. Al Thumama Stadium was built for the FIFA 2022 World Cup. However, the project is not without controversy. Reports of worker deaths and poor conditions are common.