Qatar Showcase

Arup Associates
2009 – 2010
Built

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Arup Associates’ design for 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar Showcase is the world’s most sustainable stadium, a radical piece of environmental architecture that was a major driver in Qatar’s sustainability plan and World Cup bid. The 500-seat zero-carbon exemplar stadium is a football stadium like no other. It is a proof-of-concept for innovative cooling and climate control technologies and a development platform to refine these technologies for application across Qatar and potentially across all arid regions. The original brief from the Qatar 2022 client team was for a simple pavilion that demonstrated some cooling performance technologies, however after working with the client in workshops Arup Associates developed with them the idea of a radical environmental approach and the idea of zero carbon technologies being a differentiators for their Qatar cup bid.

A key part of the eventual Qatar bid brought to reality the themes of a responsible world cup in a very hot climate and the issues of being able to dissemble it and ship the technologies to other cultures. During testing, with an outside temperature having reached 44 degrees only two hours earlier, the temperature on the pitch was recorded as 23 degrees. The stadium has been designed as a hybrid of fast and lightweight construction technologies with local, vernacular means of construction. The showcase form is directly informed by aligning the functional requirements of FIFA for player and spectator comfort and excellence of experience together with a radical environmental architectural language.

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Externally, this form is developed in response to sun, wind and macro climatic conditions; the showcase has a legible façade and logical form. The resulting language aims to articulate the integrated structural, technological and environmental concepts; whilst providing an enhanced setting for people to interact with the sporting spectacle and the building environment. The Revolving Roof Canopy The compelling rhythmic geometry of The Showcase’s canopy roof plays an important part in the sustainability strategy of the stadium.

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The canopy roof rotates, in 14-and-a-half minutes, to provide cooling shade within the building and insulated against the hot sun in summer. It is the first roof of its type and is already considered a pioneering move towards a more environmentally responsible approach to stadia architecture. The multi-skinned roof structure is clad with permeable screens of triangulated PVC fabric with a low emissivity coating supported on a secondary steel frame, with an inner cladding of triangulated ‘pillows’ of translucent ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluroethylene) membrane, providing both thermal performance and light transmittance, keeping radiant and conductive heat out and allowing natural lighting into the arena. Just outside the Showcase is a photovoltaic installation- a sun farm, connected to the structure’s electrical system and the national grid. The venues’ solar panels will operate year-round, continuously exporting electrical energy to the national grid.

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On a match day, the higher electrical demand will bring electricity back into the facility from the national grid. The Qatar 2022 Showcase offers the most sophisticated techniques for capturing and storing the power of the sun. And, as all the energy for the showcase is generated from the sun, over the year, the building has no carbon emissions. The ideas used in this Showcase are intended to show how energy can be considered as an integrated aspect of architecture, engineering and infrastructure with renewable energy contributing for the first time at scale in Qatar. Following Qatar’s success in the bid, a range of stadia, fan zones and other facilities will be required for The World Cup Games which will take benefit from these design ideas and technologies. The Showcase has now been handed to the Qatar Science and Technology Park who champion research and technology business in Doha. It will be used for developing the technologies pioneered in this project for many sports and use in similar hot arid regions. The Showcase is recognised as being at the forefront of future stadia design and sets a template for creating a positive sporting environment for spectators, players and the local community.

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Project data:
Client: Qatar 2022 Bid Committee
Architecture & Engineering: Arup Associates
Completion Date: September 2010

Qatar Showcase in numbers:
44°C outside, 23°C inside
8 weeks to design
4.5 months to build

Awards:

2011 World Architecture Awards, Shortlisted Sports Category
2011 IStructE Awards, Shortlisted Sport or Leisure Category

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