We're presenting it today after a video was released, showing the impressive future structure in operation. But Arup's design dates back to 2010 and is yet to be implemented.
As part of Abu Dhabi's long term development plan, the city is to be largely transformed before 2030, with new skyscrapers blooming across the coastal Capital District, some on completely new islands. Among them a new central stadium is to be built.
When the plans were drawn in the previous decade, capacity wasn't clearly set. What was clear was the need for a retractable roof to assure large scale entertainment events can be held even in the heat of summer in the Emirates.
From early estimations of 50,000 seats the capacity eventually grew to some 65,000 with Arup Sport (later Arup Associates) on board. The seating would be divided into three tiers with a large portion designated for corporate clients and VIP guests at a variety of comfort levels.
Atop the stands is the giant dome with membrane-covered central part. When closed the dome creates Middle East's largest indoor arena, while after opening fans may enjoy the skyline of Abu Dhabi. Innovative cooling system is to prevent the stadium from overheating inside and is to provide the proper football playing conditions.
With a massive budget of almost $ 1.4 billion, the new stadium was scheduled for delivery in... mid-2013. Those were the 2009/2010 estimates, but in the process it was decided that the plan be put on hold until further notice. It's still part of the development vision, though.