For the final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup football tournament some 86,000 spectators will convene at the Lusail Iconic Stadium in Qatar, if the nation's on-going bid is successful.
As envisaged, the stadium is certainly iconic. Its Foster + Partners design encompasses the sweeping curves evocative of the sails of a traditional dhow boat, but — perhaps more significantly — it is also potentially set to feature a major solar thermal cooling installation. Designed to cool those thousands of fans who visit the Doha stadium in the up to 45°C heat of the Arabian Peninsula, with a backdrop of a World Cup final and its television audience of many millions, it will no doubt do much to highlight the power of solar cooling and low-carbon, low-energy development.
Located to the north of Doha, with direct connections by road and a new metro line, its parking and service areas are to be shaded by canopies of solar PV collectors, which will produce energy for the stadium when it is in use, as well as generate power for neighbouring buildings. Overall, the stadium is designed to be net zero carbon in operation.
In a recent interview, Mark Fenwick, senior partner of RFA Fenwick Iribarren Architects, commented on the major challenges in designing and developing such venues for this region. 'Certainly the most important challenge for stadium design in the Middle East has to do with the need to cool the interior environment to an acceptable level, especially in the summer months,' he said. Fenwick added: 'One of the most exciting challenges in modern stadiums in the Middle East is to develop a design which allows cooling for the players and the spectators, and to resolve a responsible energy source, such as solar power.'