Dezeen’s Guide to Stadium Architecture for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar


With the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar due to kick off on Sunday, Dezeen is completing the eight stadiums hosting the tournament, including a hat-shaped building and a ‘diamond in the desert’.

All located in and around the Qatari capital of Doha, the eight stadiums will be the backdrop for the international football tournament which will take place from November 20 to December 18.

Among them is Qatar’s revamped National Stadium, as well as a series of new structures by the likes of British studios Zaha Hadid Architects and Foster + Partners.

Since Qatar won the right to host the 22nd FIFA World Cup in 2010, the construction of these stadiums has been highly controversial.

According to the Guardian, more than 6,500 migrant workers have died in the tiny Gulf state over the past decade. Amnesty International said many of these deaths went uninvestigated.

The event’s organizers have also come under fire over Qatar’s claim that the tournament will be the “first carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup in history”, which has been called “outlandish”.

Read on for more details on the eight stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar:

Qatar 2022 World Cup Final Stadium by Foster + Partners
The photo is by Nigel Young

Lusail Stadium by Foster + Partners

Islamic bowls and local Qatari architecture inspired the design of the biggest venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which its architect Foster + Partners likened to a “golden vessel”.

Lusail Stadium contains 80,000 seats arranged over two tiers and concealed by a curved exterior of gold triangular panels mounted on a steel frame.

Structural engineer Arup and sports architecture specialist Populous also worked on the design of the venue, which will host its first match on November 22 and the final on December 18.

Find out more about the Lusail stadium ›

Aerial view of the 974 stadium

Stadium 974 by Fenwick-Iribarren Architects

Stadium 974 is named after Qatar’s international call sign, as well as the number of shipping containers used to build its stairs, kiosks, bathrooms and parts of its exterior.

Designed by Fenwick-Iribarren Architects, the colorful building pays homage to Qatar’s maritime history as well as the industrial heritage of its site near Doha Port.

Containers, many of which were originally used to transport materials to the site, sit alongside a modular steel structure that has been developed to be dismantled and reused. The 40,000-seat venue will host its first match on November 30.

Learn more about Stade 974 ›

Exterior of Al Janoub Stadium by AECOM and Zaha Hadid Architects
Photo courtesy of Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy

Al Janoub Stadium by AECOM and Zaha Hadid Architects

South of central Doha, in Al Wakrah, is the Al Janoub Stadium, a building featuring the iconic shapes of its co-architect Zaha Hadid Architects.

The 40,000-seater venue, which will host its first game on November 22, was created in conjunction with AECOM and features a fully retractable roof to help keep players and fans cool.

Its distinctive shape is meant to resemble the sail of a dhow – a traditional fishing boat seen in the city’s harbor – but critics have previously likened it to female genitals.

After the tournament, the stadium will become the home of local football team Al Wakrah Sports Club.

Learn more about Al Janoub Stadium ›

Renovated Khalifa Stadium in Qatar

Khalifa International Stadium by Dar Al-Handasah

The only existing building converted for the 2022 FIFA World Cup is the Qatar National Stadium, located 10 kilometers from downtown Doha.

Called Khalifa International Stadium, it was recently renovated by its original architect, Dar Al-Handasah, to increase its capacity to 40,000 seats, bringing it up to FIFA standards.

Before the tournament, the stadium hosted events such as the Arab Gulf Cup and the Asian Games. His first World Cup event will be on November 21.

Other recent changes to the building since its inauguration in 1976 include the addition of a canopy that arches the roof, as well as contemporary digital lighting.

Learn more about Khalifa International Stadium ›

Al Bayt Stadium for the Qatar World Cup
Photo courtesy of Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy

Al Bayt Stadium by Dar Al-Handasah

Multidisciplinary studio Dar Al-Handasah has also created the tent-shaped Al Khor stadium, which will host the opening game of the football tournament on November 20.

Named Al Bayt Stadium, its design refers to the traditional bayt al sha’ar tents used by nomads in the region. Inside, it contains 60,000 seats spread over four stands.

Its distinctive pointed shape is achieved with a woven polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) fiberglass membrane and incorporates a retractable roof that complements the stadium’s cooling technologies.

After the World Cup, its upper tier of seats will be removed and used to help build sports infrastructure in other countries, before a luxury hotel is built in its place.

Learn more about Al Bayt Stadium ›

Al Thumama Stadium by Ibrahim M Jaidah
Photo courtesy of Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy

Al Thumama Stadium by Ibrahim M Jaidah

A traditional gahfiya cap worn by men across the Middle East was the benchmark for Qatari architect Ibrahim M Jaidah’s circular Al Thumama Stadium.

Located in the south of Doha, the stadium has a circular shape containing a 40,000-seat concrete bowl for spectators and will host its first match on November 21.

According to the architect, its unique design also serves a functional purpose, protecting spectators from the sun “in the same way that the gahfiya is used to cover the head from the heat”. This will work in tandem with a solar powered cooling system.

A boutique hotel is also expected to be built on its upper floor after the event, with rooms overlooking the pitch.

Learn more about Al Thumama Stadium ›

Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium by Pattern Design and Ramboll in Qatar

Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium by Pattern Design and Ramboll

British architecture studio Pattern Design and engineering firm Ramboll designed this decorative stadium on the outskirts of Doha to serve as a “marker of your exit and return to or from the desert”.

Named Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, it stands out for its ornate metal exterior that references traditional Qatari facades called Naqsh, which are juxtaposed by sturdy concession stands around the edges that nod to the nearby sand dunes.

Like all the enclosures used for the tournament, the open-air lawn will be artificially cooled to ensure the comfort of the players and its 40,000 visitors. The first match here takes place on November 21.

Learn more about Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium ›

Education City Stadium for the Qatar 2022 World Cup by Fenwick-Iribarren Architects

Education City Stadium by Fenwick-Iribarren Architects and Pattern Design

Dubbed a “diamond in the desert”, the Education City Stadium is the eighth and final venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. His first match is November 22.

The stadium’s nickname refers to its facade, which is made up of a diamond-shaped pattern that takes its shape from traditional Arabic architecture. It is designed to deflect strong sunlight and can be illuminated at night.

After the games, there are plans to convert the site into a sports center for the Education City district where it is located, with its upper level of seating removed to make way for college classrooms and event spaces.

Learn more about Education City Stadium ›


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