Qatar Offers First Look at Futuristic Boat-Shaped World Cup Stadium

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Whether or not you think the first design released for a Qatar 2022 World Cup stadium actually looks like a dhow boat as it was designed to, this reveal shows us something new and futuristic.


The proposed Al Wakrah stadium designed by Los Angeles-based AECOM and famed London architect Zaha Hadid will use engineered glulam wood on the underside of the stadium's roof to warm the interior, while hopefully evoking the look of dhow boats. The net-like siding helps a smidge, too. The 40,000-seat structure, the southernmost of the 2022 World Cup stadiums, also has a symmetrical-looking design—Buzzfeed thinks it looks like female anatomy, but we wouldn't be quite so vulgar—so the Al Wakrah stadium can split into two for post-World Cup uses.

Even though FIFA hasn’t quite made up its mind on exactly when the 2022 World Cup will actually take place, work will start on constructing stadiums next year and finish them all by 2020, two years ahead of the games, which is plenty more than can be said for the Brazilian stadium effort.

Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and technology for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.