Stadium architects the world over could be kicking themselves after a structural engineer revealed his proposal for a football venue to host games at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
“It is a football game, so the stadium should be (shaped like) a football,” says Mesiha Georgi, a structural engineer at a leading engineering consultancy. “It will look like a normal football magnified 1,000 times.”
The design of the stadium, proposed to be 200 metres in diameter, will also cost two to three times more than a traditional stadium but Georgi is defiant.
“Qatar deserves to build something unique,” he insists. “It will not be a white elephant; it will have other continuous commercial, residential and sport uses.”
The design is certainly unique. The cross-sectional plan of Georgi’s plans at pitch level is a circle, breaking from stadium design convention, but this configuration, he claims, is more efficient.
“Firstly, the area under the traditional oval spectators’ seats can be used as service rooms,” he says. “Secondly, the spectators’ seats can be arranged to occupy the area between the track lanes and the outer boundary of the circular stadium cross-section.”
The substructure will be made of reinforced/post-tensioned concrete split between a core and an outer structure. The core structure will have a circular cross-section of around 30 metres in diameter with expansion joints connecting to the outer structure.
This outer structure is flexible and can be divided into a number of sectors or can remain as one unit with circumferential post-tensioning. The superstructure will be in the form of a space truss supported on the substructure with a top opening, which can be closed as required. A very wide digital screen for the higher inner surfaces can also be used.
Georgi has added other facilities and boasts that “the size, the shape and the use of the stadium will make it a sports city.”
Conference halls, hotel space, retail outlets, broadcasting and media rooms, and huge car parks have all been factored in to his proposal.
There will be 22 gates, which Georgi says would enable an easier and speedier flow of people entering and leaving the stadium. The MCG has seven main gates.
The gates themselves have a very unusual concept.
“During the match, each gate will be labelled with the name of one of the 22 players in the two competitor teams,” he said. “It is advisable to make their shape in a way which does not affect the overall football shape of the stadium. Once they are closed they will not be seen.”
Just in case there are any doubts that the stadium’s primary goal is to house football, he adds that the stadium cladding should continue the football theme.
“A digital facade will be utilised to change the football shape regularly,” he says.
The proposed topography and landscaping, he says, will make “the position of the stadium on this green hill will give an impression as a football on a grass.”
Georgi has no doubt as to the quality of his proposal.
“I believe that this stadium shall be built sooner or later either in Qatar, UAE or even in any other country in the world,” he proudly concluded,” he says.
An unsubstantiated and not particularly clear, final claim says the stadium will be the highest in the world with a playing surface 60 metres to 70 metres above ground level. In altitude terms, the highest professional stadium is Daniel Alcides Carrión in Cerro de Pasco, Peru. It is located at 4,380 metres (13,973 feet) above sea level.
Georgi’s unusual concept may in fact take off, though it seems unlikely the world will soon see future proposals for tennis venues shaped like racquets, rugby stadiums like huge ovals and Formula One grandstands like car wheels.