Qatar 2022

World Cup 2022: secrets of the Education City Stadium revealed

Mark Fenwick, of Spain-based Fenwick Iribarren Architects, has worked on the Education City, Al-Thumama and Ras Abu Aboud World Cup Stadiums.

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World Cup 2022: secrets of the Education City Stadium revealed
HANDOUT REUTERS

The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy unveiled the Education City Stadium last week, which became the third World Cup venue to be inaugurated ahead of the tournament after the Al-Khalifa International Stadium and the Al-Janoub Stadium. The Education City Stadium is distinct in its design from the other two host venues and a Spain-based company, Fenwick Iribarren Architects, has been overseeing the blueprints throughout the construction of the ground, as is the case with the Al-Thumama and Ras Abu Aboud Stadiums.

Mark Fenwick, co-founder of Fenwick Iribarren Architects, has revealed some secrets behind the design of the Education City Stadium – the “Diamond in the Desert” – chief among which is the proximity of fans to the pitch inside the ground, which he believes will create a special atmosphere inside the host venue at the World Cup in 2022.

Compact World Cup "an Olympic concept" 

We entered a competition to design a stadium and surrounding sporting facilities for Qatar Foundation (QF). This was before Qatar had bid for the World Cup. Our original brief was to design a sports campus but this changed once Qatar won the bid. Our focus then became the football stadium,” Fenwick explained during an interview with the SC official website.

During the bid process we actually supported Qatar during the presentations to FIFA. We were obviously delighted when Qatar won the bid and were happy to have played a tiny role in the success. We then worked closely with the SC, QF and FIFA on the stadium design.

“I love the fact Qatar wants to host the best World Cup ever. Having all the stadiums in a small area means you can go to a couple of games a day. This is going to be totally unique – it’s almost an Olympics concept.

"The concept also includes the development of modern and technologically advanced stadiums, of which Education City Stadium will be a part. We wanted to produce distinctive designs to generate enthusiasm, and among these was Education City. We were also one of the first stadiums to really look at cooling. We worked with engineers to come up with a cooling solution, which was a big challenge.

"For me, the most exciting part is when you sit down with a white piece of paper and a pencil. You start sketching and that’s exciting. Some ideas come slowly, while others come quickly. You think of the façade, the shape and people arriving. The beginning is always exciting."

“To be working on three stadiums – I think it’s unique”

"The process is also exciting as you have many challenges and getting over those hurdles successfully is tremendously satisfying," Fenwick added. 

"I’m very much looking forward to the opening game. I’ve done the white piece of paper and pencil – now all I’m missing is the game and hopefully it will take place soon.

"And of course, the World Cup itself will be amazing. To be working on three stadiums – I think it’s unique. I think it’s the first hat-trick of the Qatar World Cup! A World Cup scenario will be fantastic. It won’t be a normal football match. It will be the peak of my career and I’m sure the whole tournament will be fantastic.