Al Bayt Stadium, the opening match venue for the upcoming FIFA 2022 World Cup was unveiled on 30 November 2021, with the striking giant tent-covered sports arena hosting the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 opening ceremony.

Designed by architectural studio Dar Al-Handasah and delivered by Aspire Zone Foundation, the stadium located in the northern city of Al Khor, takes its name from ‘bayt al sha'ar’ – tents historically used by the nomadic people of Qatar and the Gulf region. Dar Al-Handasah’s design is also informed by these tents with a magnificent tent-shaped canopy enveloping the ultra-modern football stadium, welcoming visitors into comfort and giving them an experience of Qatar’s traditional hospitality.

The black stripes typically seen on the tents of nomadic tribes in Qatar have been referenced on the arena's distinctive exterior, while vibrant sadu patterns will greet fans inside the stadium.

The 60,000-capacity stadium’s design and construction are driven by Qatar’s sustainability goals, with the sports arena planned as a model of green development. In addition to the use of green building materials, Al Bayt Stadium is designed to minimise energy usage in keeping both players and spectators cool and comfortable. The eye-catching tent structure's lightweight canopies stretch out towards the pitch from every side, working alongside the retractable 1,600-tonne roof system to provide plenty of shade and supplement the air cooling technologies at work. These features help maintain a comfortable temperature inside without using any extra power.

Sustainability also drives the design of the area around Al Bayt Stadium with parks and greenery forming an integral part of the surrounding precinct's design plan, creating a green lung for Al Khor and providing local communities with invaluable outdoor space to enjoy, according to the stadium’s stakeholders – Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.

The park area surrounding the stadium is equivalent to over 30 football pitches and includes sport courts, play areas, exercise equipment, and jogging and cycling tracks. Tree-lined pedestrian walkways guide fans into the stadium, while extensive taxi and bus facilities minimise the number of vehicles on local roads.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy worked towards Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) certifications, with the stadium receiving a Class A rating from GSAS.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who toured Al Bayt Stadium in October 2021, commented: “Al Bayt Stadium is incredible: a true football stadium. It has a real football feel and a local touch.”

Key partners in the design and construction of this impressive stadium also included Projacs who were responsible for project management in the initial phase; Qatari contractor Galfar Al Misnad, in conjunction with Italian contractors Salini Impregilo Group and Cimolai, who constructed the stadium and the energy centre building; Qatari contractors Bin Omran Trading and Contracting and Al Sulaiteen Agricultural & Industrial Complex who carried out landscaping and underground utility works; and KEO International Consultants who provided construction supervision.

Photo credit: Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.