There are a small number of specialist architecture firms working on large venues such as those for the World Cup and Olympics. It is a high-value niche, with a regular supply of work as these sporting behemoths roll around the globe from one continent to another. Pattern were founded in 2009, becoming part of BDP in 2021, and are now one of the leaders in the stadium sector.
BDP Pattern have drawn inspiration from the desert and traditional local crafts for this slick 40,000-capacity stadium. The defining feature externally is a gigantic latticework veil, that provides a single unifying identity and solar shading.
The client had originally requested a huge media screen to wrap around the outside of the building. This was dropped in favour of an approach that instead draws from Arabic “naqsh”, which are delicately carved architectural screens, often characterised by abstract repetitive patterns and symmetry.
There are five different patterns within the latticework, including a shield pattern, or Dirau, symbolising a famous battle that took place in 1893 where the Al-Thani family defeated the the Ottoman empire, and which many Qataris see as representing the start of their modern state. Other imagery includes desert roses, which were prized ornaments in Bedouin houses and tents.
According to the architects, the design also references “mirages and heat hazes, flora and fauna and traditional astronomical navigation methods”. The masterplan for the wider site, which includes a football training facility and huge public concourse, has apparently been conceived as a “caravan or journey” across a desert landscape.