Dezeen’s guide to stadium architecture for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar set to begin on Sunday, Dezeen summarizes the eight stadiums hosting the tournament, including a hat-shaped building and a ‘diamond in the desert’.

The eight stadiums, all located in and around the Qatari capital of Doha, provide the backdrop for the international football tournament, which runs from November 20th to December 18th.

These include Qatar’s revamped National Stadium, as well as a number of new structures by UK firms including Zaha Hadid Architects and Foster + Partners.

Since Qatar won the right to host the 22nd FIFA World Cup in 2010, the construction of these stadiums has been highly controversial.

More than 6,500 migrant workers have died in the tiny Gulf state in the past decade, according to the Guardian. Amnesty International said many of these deaths go uninvestigated.

Promoters have also come under fire over Qatar’s claim that the tournament will be the “first carbon neutral FIFA World Cup in history”, which has been described as “far-fetched”.

Read on for details on all eight stadiums of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar:

Final stadium of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar by Foster + Partners
Photo by Nigel Young

Lusail Stadium by Foster + Partners

Islamic shells and local Qatari architecture shaped the design of the largest venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which its architect Foster + Partners likened to a “golden vessel”.

The Lusail Stadium has 80,000 seats arranged in two tiers and covered by a curved exterior of golden triangular panels mounted on a steel frame.

Structural engineer Arup and sports architecture specialist Populous also worked on the design for the venue, which will host the first game on November 22nd and the final on December 18th.

Learn more about Lusail Stadium ›

Aerial view of Stadium 974

Stadium 974 by Fenwick-Iribarren Architects

Stadium 974 is named for Qatar’s international access code as well as the number of shipping containers used in the construction of its stairways, kiosks, bathrooms and parts of its exterior.

Designed by Fenwick-Iribarren Architects, the colorful building pays homage to Qatar’s maritime history as well as the industrial heritage of its location near the Port of Doha.

The containers, many of which were originally used to transport materials to site, are on display alongside a modular steel structure designed for dismantling and reuse. The 40,000-seat venue will host its first game on November 30.

Learn more about Stadium 974 ›

Exterior view of Al Janoub Stadium by AECOM and Zaha Hadid Architects
Photo courtesy of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy

Al Janoub Stadium by AECOM and Zaha Hadid Architects

South of central Doha in Al Wakrah is Al Janoub Stadium, a building with the distinctive curved shapes of its co-architect Zaha Hadid Architects.

The 40,000-seat venue, which will host its first game on November 22, was created in partnership with AECOM and features a fully retractable roof to keep players and fans cool.

Its distinctive shape is said to resemble the sail of a dhow — a traditional fishing boat seen in the city’s harbor — but critics have previously likened it to female genitalia.

After the tournament, the stadium will become the home ground of the local football team, Al Wakrah Sports Club.

Find out more about Al Janoub Stadium ›

Renovated Khalifa Stadium in Qatar

Khalifa International Stadium by Dar Al Handasah

The only existing building that has been repurposed for the 2022 FIFA World Cup is the Qatar National Stadium, located 10 kilometers from Doha city centre.

The Khalifa International Stadium was recently renovated by its original architect, Dar Al-Handasah, to increase its capacity to 40,000 to meet FIFA standards.

Prior to the tournament, the stadium hosted events such as the Arabian Gulf Cup and the Asian Games. The first World Cup event will take place on November 21st.

Other recent changes to the building since its inauguration in 1976 include the addition of a canopy arching over the roof and contemporary digital lighting.

Find out more about Khalifa International Stadium ›

Al Bayt Stadium for Qatar World Cup
Photo courtesy of Qatar Supreme Committee on Delivery and Legacy

Al Bayt Stadium by Dar Al-Handasah

Multidisciplinary studio Dar Al-Handasah also created the tent-like stadium in Al Khor, which will host the opening game of the football tournament on November 20th.

Dubbed Al Bayt Stadium, the design references traditional Bayt al Sha’ar tents used by nomads throughout the region. Inside, it contains 60,000 seats on four grandstands.

Its distinctive pointed shape is achieved by a woven polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) fiberglass cone and contains a retractable roof that complements the stadium’s cooling technologies.

After the World Cup, the top row of seats will be removed and used to build sports infrastructure in other countries before a luxury hotel is built in its place.

Find out more about Al Bayt Stadium ›

Al Thumama Stadium by Ibrahim M Jaidah
Photo courtesy of Qatar Supreme Committee on Delivery and Legacy

Al Thumama Stadium by Ibrahim M Jaidah

A traditional gahfiya cap worn by men throughout the Middle East was the reference for Qatari architect Ibrahim M. Jaidah’s circular Al Thumama Stadium.

Located south of Doha, the stadium is circular in shape with a concrete bowl seating 40,000 and will host its inaugural game on November 21.

According to the architect, its unique design also serves a functional purpose by protecting spectators from the sun “much like the gahfiya is used to protect the head from the heat”. This will work in conjunction with a solar powered cooling system.

In addition, a boutique hotel is to be built in the upper tier after the event, with rooms facing the playing field.

Find out more about Al Thumama Stadium ›

Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium by Pattern Design and Ramboll in Qatar

Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium by Pattern Design and Ramboll

British architecture firm Pattern Design and engineering firm Ramboll designed this decorative stadium on the outskirts of Doha to serve as “a marker of your exit and return to or from the desert”.

Dubbed Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, it is notable for its ornate metal facade, which references traditional Qatari facades called Naqsh, which are contrasted by solid concession stands around the edges, alluding to the neighboring sand dunes.

Like all venues used for the tournament, the outdoor field is artificially cooled to ensure the comfort of the players and its 40,000 spectators. The first game will take place here on November 21st.

Find out more about Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium ›

Education City Stadium for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar by Fenwick-Iribarren Architects

Education City Stadium by Fenwick-Iribarren Architects and Pattern Design

Nicknamed the “diamond in the desert”, Education City Stadium is the eighth and final venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The first game will take place on November 22nd.

The stadium’s nickname refers to its facade, which consists of a diamond-like pattern that borrows its shape from traditional Arabic architecture. It is designed to deflect strong sunlight and can be illuminated at night.

After the Games, the venue is scheduled to be converted into a sports center for the Education City neighborhood in which it is located, with the top row of seats being removed to make room for university classrooms and event spaces.

Learn more about Education City Stadium ›

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