This design showcase was commissioned to explore whether intense summer climates need to be a barrier to hosting global events.
To Arup it was an opportunity to investigate new sustainable solutions for creating climate-controlled spaces, ensuring occupant comfort, and delivering a stadium that could be zero carbon in operation.
For sports federations across the Gulf region, this project allowed them to show event organisations, athletes and medical teams that bidding for and hosting major events year-round is not only possible, but that player and spectator conditions can be tuned to be optimal for any given activity.
The resulting Showcase is based on three design aspects: developing passive design features into a new energy-saving and comfortable architecture; employing photovoltaics to capture and convert the sun’s heat into cooling; and conditioning using under-seat supply.
Arup’s innovative designs show how energy can be considered as an integrated aspect of stadium architecture, engineering and infrastructure. Importantly the Showcase also demonstrates how renewable energy could contribute for the time at scale in a major Qatari building.
The range of stadia, fan zones and other facilities required for major tournaments such as the FIFA World Cup could all benefit from these cooling and climate control ideas and technologies.
Revolving roof canopy
The canopy roof design would play an important part in the sustainability strategy of the stadium.The canopy roof moves to provide cooling shade within the building and insulation against the sun in the summer. The first roof of its kind, it represents a pioneering move towards a more environmentally-responsible approach to stadium architecture.
The canopy could be positioned to protect the interior from winds. In hot conditions the canopy might be closed, for example in the run-up to an event, to allow stadium cooling to work at optimum efficiency.
Power from the sun
The Showcase incorporates a photovoltaic installation just outside but connected to the stadium’s electrical system and the national grid. It is envisaged that the solar panels would operate year-round, continuously exporting energy to the national grid.
On a match day, to meet the higher electrical demand, power could be imported back into the facility from the national grid. The national grid electricity, together with generators using biofuels, would provide robust and reliable supply for the site
The predicted amount of power generated in this way from the sun would exceed the amount imported for peak use over the year, making the facility zero carbon for electricity.
Cooling the Showcase
The Showcase includes an array of solar heat collectors. Representing the latest generation of the technology, they have a series of motorised mirrors that track the sun, focusing the sun’s rays onto collecting tubes with hot water circulating inside.
These tubes collect energy in the form of heat, which is converted into cooling and electricity to supply lighting, power and other building systems.
The solar energy heats water to 200°c It is then converted to cooling water by machines called absorption chillers. The cooling water is stored in eutectic tanks beneath the stadium for use in the evening, when it is circulated into the air-handling units.
In turn these units supply cooled air to the area beneath spectators’ seats, thereby making the area comfortable for occupants. Cooler air will also flow down to create a lower ambient temperature on and around the pitch for players.
The stadium has been designed as a hybrid of fast and lightweight construction technologies with local, vernacular means of construction.
The showcase form is directly informed by aligning the functional requirements of FIFA for player and spectator comfort and excellence of experience together with a radical environmental architectural language. Externally, this form is developed in response to sun, wind and macro climatic conditions; the showcase has a legible façade and logical form. The resulting language aims to articulate the integrated structural, technological and environmental concepts; whilst providing an enhanced setting for people to interact with the sporting spectacle and the building environment.