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Foster bags Qatar World Cup stadium job

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Foster + Partners has finally been revealed as the architect of the centrepiece stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

The AJ100 chart-topper saw off a shortlist which included David Chipperfield, Mossessian & Partners and Mangera Yvars Architects, in the international competition to design the 80,000-seat Lusail stadium (AJ 29.05.14) .

Foster + Partners will be working with sports stadium specialists Populous and Arup on the grounds which will host both the first game of the tournament and the closing ceremony.

The practice had already drawn up a scheme for the stadium – it worked on the arena’s concept as part of Qatar’s successful bid for the World Cup in late 2010.

The long-awaited announcement of the contest winner follows an earlier tender process for the flagship arena in Doha, which was ditched a year ago, having rumbled on for almost 12 months.

According to reports in AJ sister publication MEED, none of the proposals tendered then were thought to accurately ‘reflect modern Qatari design and culture’.

As a result the contest organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, began another search, with the shortlisted architects asked to attend workshops with the committee ‘to ensure the fresh design met expectations’.

Located in Lusail City, 15 km north of Doha, the stadium will contain an open-air pitch that can be cooled to 26°C using cooled and shaded spectator stands and state-of-the-art green technologies.

Norman Foster, said: ‘This is an exciting step forward in stadium design – it will be the first to break the mould of the free standing suburban concept, and instead anticipates the grid of this future city, of which it will be an integral part.

‘The project also pioneers the idea of an ongoing life for the stadium beyond the big event. The environmental strategies, particularly those that address the players as well as the spectators, will also be of international interest to the sporting public as well as those concerned with the architecture.’

Hassan Al Thawadi, SC secretary general, added: ‘We are excited to announce that the design contract has been awarded to Foster and Partners for Lusail Stadium. We look forward to working with them in creating an iconic, contemporary stadium inspired by Qatari culture. Lusail Stadium will be the centre-piece of the tournament, an architecturally innovative stadium which maintains sporting functionality and delivers on our sustainability commitments.

‘With this design award, our vision for the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East is taking on further shape, following our recently-held first Local Organising Committee board meeting and with five stadiums currently in different stages of construction across the country.’

The announcement comes after reports that the contest, which takes place in eight years time, could be moved to the winter following concern over Qatar’s 40°C summer temperatures.

FIFA is set to vote on the decision of whether the World Cup should be held in November and December to avoid the July heat on 19 March.


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