Image 1 of 12: Lusail Iconic Stadium: The spectacular venue will be used for the opening and final games. Encircled by a reflective pool of water, spectators will cross six bridges to enter the stadium. The entire arena is solar powered and (save for the boots of the players) will have a zero footprint. (Architects: Foster + Partners; capacity: 86,250)
Image 1 of 12: Khalifa International Stadium: The stadium with swooping arches has been used for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup and the 2006 Asian Games. The stadium also has an aquatic center (Coaches of losing teams who want to punish your players by making them do laps -- look no further! (Cox Richardson Architects; capacity: 68,030)
Image 1 of 12: Sports City Stadium: Inspired by the ancient tradition of the nomadic tribes, the stadium's structure evokes the Bedouin tent. The arena has a retractable roof and will be the most eco friendly stadium in the world, no less. (Dan Meis; capacity: 46,890)
Image 1 of 12: Education City Stadium: Located in the hub of Qatar's universities, the stadium has a diamond oval outer shell which glows around the clock. Reflecting sunshine in the day and glittering with LEDs at night, this is a college atmosphere where every player will be inspired to sparkle. (RFA Fenwick Iribarren Architects; capacity: 45,000)
Image 1 of 12: Al Khor stadium: Located in industrial water-front Al Khor (Creek), the stadium has a seashell motif and a flexible roof with gentle ridges. The structure of the stadium is in harmony with the city's coastal location. (Albert Speer & Partner GmbH; capacity: 45,330)
Image 1 of 12: Al Shamal stadium: Located near the northerly 'Ash Shamal', the stadium's curved shape is inspired by the traditional dhow, the trading boats that have sailed between the Gulf and East Africa. (Albert Speer & Partner GmbH; capacity: 45,120)
Image 1 of 12: Saoud bin Abdulrahman Stadium: Home to the Al Wakrah Sports Club, inspired by a traditional emblem resembling the sails of a dhow (Arabian fishing boat) with a cooled pitch, it also includes a spectator area outside the ground that will be temperature controlled at 30-32°C. It's no mirage! (Albert Speer & Partner GmbH; capacity: 45,120)
Image 1 of 12: Umm Salal Stadium: The sandy color of the stadium makes it fit with the surrounding desert landscape, which also is home to a fort by the same name. The stadium is reminiscent of a homely Arabian village -- here's hoping it comes with that trademark Arabian hospitality. (Albert Speer & Partner GmbH; capacity: 45,120)
Image 1 of 12: Doha Port Stadium: This fantastic structure is shaped to resemble a new marine life form that has just emerged from the Arabian waters. The water from the sea will continuously cool the outer façade of the stadium -- just as it would the body of a fish. Such harmonious work! (Albert Speer & Partner GmbH; capacity: 45,120)
Image 1 of 12: The Thani bin Jassim Stadium: Home to the football team Al-Gharrafa, the stadium is the most colorful venue of the World Cup. The stadium will have a façade of rainbow ribbons designed to represent the array of different teams that qualify for the tournament. (Albert Speer & Partner GmbH; capacity: 44,740)
Image 1 of 12: Al-Rayyan Stadium: The outer façade of this futuristic arena is made up of a digital screen that will feature the latest scores, highlights and updates. This way, you can see goals being scored before you even enter the prescient stadium. (Albert Speer & Partner GmbH; capacity: 44,740)
Image 1 of 12: Qatar University Stadium: Not a huge leap of faith, the stadium will occupy the pre-existing track and field arena of the Qatar University campus. The sporting edifice is adorned with intricate Arabic geometric patterns that have graced the building blocks of the world's most timeless structures. (Albert Speer & Partner GmbH; capacity: 43,520)
For many World Cup fans, a football stadium is more than a mere stadium. It is a home away from home, and something of the main attraction, indeed embodying the full football experience. For the entire duration of the tournament, over 3,000,000 fans at the stadiums and one billion fans who watch the games from their TVs at home, fill these venues with their hopes, dreams and aspirations.
They come to the stadiums to see and cheer on their favorite players. But even as they draw up to the parking lot, show the ticket attendant their stubs, walk up to their seats and sip their beer (or fast booming non-alcoholic brew), they marvel at the stadium. At a tournament like the World Cup, the venue becomes as significant as the game. It is part and parcel of the world cup experience.
The Arab world (with Qatar at the helm) has set out its stall for a stadium series like no other, to ensure a World Cup to remember.
And judging by the stadiums that are being built for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, boy are these soccer fans in for a treat! From Arabian dhows to historical forts and surreal moats, the stadiums being planned for the 2022 edition of the most watched tournament in the world are stunning triumphs of science and imagination.
As William Shakespeare once said, “All the world’s a stadium, and all its men and women merely players. And Qatar, thou hast the world’s finest stadiums.” (Shakespeare didn’t actually say that, but if he were alive, you bet your last edition of As You Like It that he would.)
Each of these twelve stadiums have been designed with the 50 degree plus Qatar scorching summer temperatures in mind. (In a Eurocentric football world, the World Cup has traditionally been played in high-holiday season - the summer,- when people in Europe take time off work). Qatar has come up with a workaround to address this problem without plumping for the winter option still in debate. Powered in eco-friendly ways, the stadiums are designed to keep the temperature ambient at a more tolerable 27 degrees Celsius.
And while we’re talking about the stadiums, let’s also take a few moments to hope that Qatar is moving heaven and earth to improve the conditions of its migrant workers (aka 'world cup slaves') who are building these architectural marvels.
So whether you are football mad or appreciate fine architecture, gear up for this gallery of venue wonders of the Gulf! You’re in for a visual treat!
Here we go -- let’s take a look at your oil and natural gas money at work!