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Stadium 974 – The temporary World Cup stadium

Stadium 974 the temporary World Cup stadium

After hosting seven games over two weeks, deconstruction has started on one of the eight stadiums used for this year’s world cup. Labelled as the beacon of sustainability by the host nation, what is so unique about stadium 974? Located in the Ras Abu Aboud neighbourhood along Doha’s waterfront, the 44,089-capacity stadium offers fresh innovation and long-term value. It is the first FIFA-compliant stadium designed to be fully dismantled and repurposed after the project ends. Fenwick Iribarren architects are responsible for this ambitious project. Stadium 974 is named after Qatar’s international dialling code and the number of shipping containers used in its construction. Beyond the potential to reconstruct the stadium at future events, the building has several sustainable features.
  • Designed for natural ventilation to avoid air conditioning
  • Solar panel roof
  • Rainwater harvesting system
Seven of the eight stadiums being used for this world cup were newly built, and one was heavily refurbished. A new airport, metro systems, roads and 100 new hotels were also constructed for this sporting event. Putting pressure on the claims that this has been the first carbon-neutral world cup. Due to the short time frame of a World Cup, there are concerns about how these expensive construction projects will be utilised after the Final, and if they will become white elephants*. The last three world cups resulted in several forgotten stadiums.
  • Russia 2018 e.g., the $300m Mordovia Arena used by Saransk FC, attracted fewer than 250 fans; a quarter of the crowd allowed under Russia’s coronavirus restrictions
  • Brazil 2014 e.g., the $220 million Arena da Amazonia stadium located in the Amazon primarily unused since the WC
  • South Africa 2010 e.g., 60,000 capacity ODI stadium in Mabopane, which has not been used since WC
Relocating and reusing the stadium brings environmental and financial savings. Lowering embodied carbon emissions and financial cost of a world cup. The impermanency also allows stadiums to be built in central locations, reducing intracity fan travel during tournaments, a significant environmental cost. But the carbon emissions from stadium 974 are roughly 60% higher than stadiums of comparable size (40,000-45,000) because of the carbon-intensive materials used, such as steel for the modular framework and other durable materials required for the dismantling of the stadium. In the long term, this design for disassembly approach should bring carbon savings. Or so is our hope. A stadium’s emission-saving prospects depend on how many times and how far the stadium is transported and reassembled. To present a lower carbon impact than building a stadium of a comparable capacity:
  • If the stadium is reused one time, it must travel a sea and road distance less than 7033km
  • If the stadium is reused two times, it must travel a sea and road distance less than 40,118km
  • If the stadium is reused three times, it must travel within a sea and road distance less than 72,616km

When and where will we next see stadium 974?

There are reports the stadium will be sent to Uruguay, which is set to be part of the pan-South America bid for 2030, along with Argentina, Chile and Paraguay.   Uruguay is approximately 13,000 km from Doha; the stadium would need to be reused again in a third location for there to be a lower carbon impact than building new stadiums from scratch. Stadium 974s ambitious design is an excellent example of land use and resource-efficient planning that could offer both CO2 emission reduction and cost savings in the long term.  

How Firstplanit supports design for disassembly and reuse of materials.

Firstplanit is determined to democratise thoughtful planning and careful selection of materials and products to ensure that buildings and infrastructure can be effectively designed for disassembly and reuse, whether in the short term or long term. Buildings must be seen and designed as material banks for future use, not disposal. This is especially important for larger buildings that require large spans and, therefore high strength and energy-intensive materials.   

So do, explore the durability and versatility of every product on Firstplanit’s freely accessible digital library. These indicators highlight products that would lend themselves well to such projects. You can also upload materials and products for resale/ reuse on Firstplanit. But most importantly, you can engage with more sustainable planning and selection of materials to celebrate the waste, carbon, and monitory savings on Firstplanit dashboards. 

*A white elephant stadium is one that was built for a specific sporting event and is unused or rarely used after the tournament, causing a significant financial and environmental burden.

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