A Demountable Stadium?

29. November 2017
Ras Abu Aboud Stadium (Image: Fenwick Iribarren Architects)
FIFA has released renderings of the seventh of eight planned stadiums that will be built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. The design, by Fenwick Iribarren Architects, boasts of being the world's first demountable football stadium.
According to an announcement by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the organization responsible for delivering the infrastructure required to host the 2022 World Cup, the 40,000-seat venue "offers the perfect legacy, capable of being reassembled in a new location in its entirety or built into numerous small sports and cultural venues." Much of the stadium will be built from modular shipping containers that will house removable seats, concession stands, lavatories and other "fundamental stadium elements."

Oddly, the announcement boasts of Ras Abu Aboud Stadium's demountable design but does not mention the name of its designer, Fenwick Iribarren Architects. The Madrid-based firm is no stranger to FIFA though; they are responsible for the design of three stadiums for the 2022 World Cup, all with a capacity of 40,000 spectators. For Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, Fenwick Iribarren is collaborating with Stuttgart's Schlaich Bergermann Partner and Hilson Moran.

With the permanent stadiums for Qatar's hosting of the World Cup bogged down with controversy (mainly over the treatment of construction workers) and the country in the midst of a diplomatic crisis, the design of this temporary stadium appears to be a workaround to these and other problems. Although the below video illustrates the magical ease of disassembling and transporting the stadium for other projects, with so much more going into the building than just shipping containers – structure, roof, raked seating and floors, to name a few – it's easy to be suspicious of the rhetoric behind this "demountable" design.

Regardless, the announcement purports of a four-star Global Sustainability Assessment System certification and "an ideal location for a waterfront development after the tournament and ensuring a vibrant local legacy" (though the video illustrates what appears to be public parkland). Completion of the stadium is slated for 2020, two years ahead of the World Cup.
The shipping containers intentionally echo the nearby industrial port. (Image: Fenwick Iribarren Architects)
The stacked modular containers project outwards from the stadium's main structure. (Image: Fenwick Iribarren Architects)
But inside the stadium the shipping containers are invisible. (Image: Fenwick Iribarren Architects)
Additional renderings reveal how the containers would be used for bathrooms and other functions. (Image: Fenwick Iribarren Architects)

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