Even the most stalwart fans are bound to protest a FIFA decision to hold the 2022 world cup in Qatar. Aren’t they? From July to September, although humidity levels do simmer down slightly, the United Arab Emirates is one giant fireball. But the Qatar Foundation is pushing its Stadium and Sports Complex design anyway, which will address the heat problem by incorporating solar power and other undisclosed techniques.
In a recent discussion with AMEinfo, the architects discuss the challenges of hosting the world cup in the desert, and claim that modern stadiums can define the city in which they’re built. Does Qatar really want to be the country that tried to defy nature’s limits with this costly design?Mark Fenwick, who is RFA Fenwick Iribarren Architects’ Senior Partner, spoke to AMEinfo.
“Certainly the most important challenge for stadium design in the Middle East has to do with the need to cool the interior environment to an acceptable level, especially in the summer months,” he said.
However, he claims that northern countries have to be concerned with heating, and that people rarely dispute that as ardently as they dispute the need for cooling. Nonetheless, Mr. Fenwick views this as an interesting challenge that he washes down with the “R” word (emphasis added).
“One of the most exciting challenges in modern stadiums in the Middle East, is to develop a design which allows cooling for the players and the spectators, and to resolve a responsible energy source, such as solar power,” he said.
While that may be the case, can’t we use stadiums that have already been built? (Qatar plans to build twelve structures for 2022 if they win the bid.) Can we really afford to keep on building more giant structures that will thereafter be left for dead?
Consider South Africa: Politicsweb claims that the country will have to spend the equivalent of nearly $20 million every year to maintain its six swanky new stadiums. The world cup may have brought the country together but everyone is back at each others throats, and as one person noticed it’s now time to “Kak en betaal,” an Afrikaans expression that means “sh#t and pay up.”
And then there is Qatar’s image. Writing for Huffington Post, Anne Peterson, who works for Education City, lauded the Qatar Foundation for its desire to “develop with integrity,” elevating the Emirate’s best intentions over “the crass indulgence of Dubai.”
If this is true, and if the stadium does become the “symbolic representation of a culture” as Mr. Fenwick suggests, then what message will Qatar send?
That nature poses no limits on humanity?
More architectural news from the UAE:
image via HalfBloodPrince74