Playing football in a golden bowl

The Lusail Stadium was the last to be completed, but it will be the first to host a match during the World Cup in Qatar. Architectural firm Foster + Partners released images for the first time.

The Lusail Stadium has already passed a try-out. At the beginning of September, the Saudi Al Hilal and the Egyptian Zamalek already played a match in the stadium. Of the eight stadiums for the World Cup, it was the last to be finished. But when things get serious, it will become the star of the championship: both the opening match and the final will be played there. Ten matches will take place over the course of the tournament.

Lusail is located about twenty kilometers north of the Qatari capital Doha. It is a newly constructed city, which should eventually have 250,000 inhabitants. They already have a nice stadium anyway. It has a capacity of 80,000 viewers and many other events can take place after the World Cup.

Photo: Foster + Partners

Photo: Foster + Partners

It’s not all gold that glitters, but it looks a lot like it at the Lusail Stadium. The Foster + Partners design team has come up with a simple and pure form that nevertheless has a lot of appeal in the environment. The team has drawn on the ancient craft tradition and is inspired on an Islamic scale. The volume looks like a polished bowl with gold-coloured walls.

Supporters approaching the stadium along the monumental access path will get a better view of the walls with every step. From a distance it looks like a closed cocoon, but closer up the structure becomes clear of intersecting diagonal steel beams, interspersed with thousands of triangular elements. Only then does it appear that the facade is perforated – filtered light enters through the openings.

Playing football in a golden bowl

Photo: AFP

The stadium stands on a pedestal. The entrances are located under the overhanging arch, so that the spectators are immediately absorbed in the event. There they are at the mercy of the architects, who have deliberately kept the corridors low. This makes the effect all the greater when the football fans enter the inside of the stadium. Foster + Partners has placed the seats as close to the playing field as possible, following the English model. The team also has experience: it also signed for the realization of the Wembley Stadium and Camp Nou.

In the stadium, the spectator is completely absorbed in a cocoon. The top is largely closed off with a sail construction that spans 307 meters thanks to a cable net. This sun protection should provide the shade that the footballers will probably crave. On the inside of the stadium, Foster + Partners have worked with a subdued palette of sand colors, right down to the upholstery of the seats.

Foster + Partners is the team of British architect Sir Norman Foster (87). In addition to football stadiums, the office also realized the dome on the Reichstag building in Berlin. In France it designed the Millau Viaduct and in London the Millennium Bridge.

Playing football in a golden bowl

Photo: REUTERS

Playing football in a golden bowl

Photo: AFP

In the run-up to the World Cup in Qatar, heavy criticism has already been leveled at the working conditions in which the necessary infrastructure in the Gulf state has been built by foreign workers with a vulnerable status. A Belgian trade unionist, Patrick Vandenberghe, the chairman of the ACV Construction, Industry and Energy, who was on site in 2013, said about this in The standard. ‘Those people from Bangladesh, India, Nepal… worked at 45 degrees or more in appalling conditions. I would almost dare to call them prisoners of war. That someone like FIFA president Gianni Infantino even to this day says that only three people were killed shocks me and I do not understand. You have to acknowledge what happened there.’

For the football fans, we also mention that the match between Al Hilal and Zamalek ended in 1-1. Then Al Hilal won on penalties.

The article is in Dutch

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