There are just over 9 months until the start of the 2022 World Cup. All venues are ready, but not all of them were officially inaugurated. Lusail Stadium - the arena of the grand final - is still waiting for the first match.
Completed one year later than planned
Lusail Stadium is the largest stadium in the Middle East. The 80,000-seat facility was built on the outskirts of the country's capital (15 km north of the centre of Doha) in the futuristic Lusail, a city under construction designated for over 200,000 inhabitants.
The initial concept of the arena, when presenting Qatar's candidacy to host the 2022 World Cup, assumed a roof that could be completely retracted in the evening, making the venue entirely open-air. However, this feature turned out to be completely unrealistic to be put into practice.
Preparatory work began in 2015, and the actual construction started on April 11, 2017. What is extremely rare in large tournaments, the final concept was kept a secret for a long time. Its official presentation took place in December 2018, when the works were already at an advanced stage.
Initially, the stadium was due to be completed in 2020, but eventually work took a year longer. On November 20, 2021, representatives of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy announced at a press conference that the works at the facility were finished. Thus, they proudly revealed to the world that all arenas of the 2022 World Cup are ready.
The organisers of the tournament, as usual, did not disclose the construction cost of the stadium. We only know that at the time of signing the contract with the Qatar-Chinese consortium (HBK Contracting, China Railway Construction Corporation), the price tag was estimated at $767 million.
"Golden" facade inspired by local culture
Lusail Stadium is set almost perfectly on a circular plan. From the outside, its shape resembles a huge bowl, which is a reference to the traditional vessel for dried dates. The structure of the "date bowl" surrounding the stands weighs as much as 30,000 tons and is 310 m in diameter.
The golden facade of the building features intricate triangular patterns inspired by old Qatari lamps (fanar). This effect was achieved thanks to 4,200 triangular aluminum plates with a total area of 60,000 square metres. The whole thing is connected to the main steel structure of the arena by 4,672 connectors.
The huge roof also deserves attention despite not being retractable. Its membrane was stretched in such a way as to create another ornament - hundreds of diamond-shaped elements. The roof membrane has an area of 45,000 square metres, making it one of the largest structures of its kind. The roofing design is considered to be one of the most complex systems of cable-membrane structures in the world.
The auditorium with a net capacity of 80,000 (technically it is possible to reach 86,000) is divided into two tiers. Each of them has an internal division into halves. This solution aims to offer the optimal location of pedestrian routes and places for the disabled.
After the end of the 2022 World Cup, many of the seats will be dismantled and shipped overseas. The venue is to be partly converted into a public place. Schools, shops, cafes, medical clinics and sports facilities are planned. All of the above will be under the roof that is to be preserved from the football stadium.