Officially known as the Al Janoub Stadium, it has been nicknamed the ‘Vagina stadium’ because of its resemblance to the female genitalia.
The stadium is among eight others that will be used for the 2022 FIFA World Cup scheduled to take place in Qatar.
It comprises various sporting facilities, including a cycling and running track, horse riding arenas, and other green spaces.
The stadium has a 92m long retractable roof that will provide shade to the pitch and protect the interior of the stadium from harsh weather conditions. Weighing 378t and measuring 92m, the steel structure – known as an ‘oculus beam’ – sits 50m above pitch level. It will connect and support the entire roof while providing maintenance access to some of the retractable parts of the structure.
The symmetrical roof of the stadium is composed of three shells with a large hole in the roof area.
Ever since its visualization, a lot of interest has been generated, with commentators being quick to criticize its outlook.
A US-based women’s website, Jezebel.com in a 2013 publication said that “any discerning human will be quick to recognize that the building looks exactly like an enormous vagina…to reiterate, the stadium looks just like a very big vagina.”
Several news portals based in Ghana have also described it as the ‘vagina stadium’ in some publications. Such can be seen here, here, and here.
In this work, DUBAWA explores the beautiful 40,000-seater capacity stadium located in the city of Al Wakrah, about 10 miles south of Doha.
Who is behind the project and what was the inspiration?
The stadium was unveiled on 16th May 2019 when it hosted the 2019 Amir Cup final.
The design of the stadium is largely credited to Zaha Hadid Architects; however, the website of the firm mentioned that architects began the designing of the stadium together with AECOM, an American multinational engineering firm.
Architect Zaha Hadid has described that the stadium’s design bears resemblance to the female genitalia as “embarrassing” and “ridiculous,” according to media reports.
“It’s really embarrassing that they come up with nonsense like this…What are they saying? Everything with a hole in it is a vagina? That’s ridiculous,” Times Magazine quotes her as saying.
According to the Architects, the design is “inspired by the rich heritage of Qatar and the Al Wakrah region, with its timeless characteristics of simplicity, solidity, space, and light. This is visible in the colors, patterns, and materials throughout the stadium as well as in its interpretation of the dhow, the Arabian pearl fishing boat of great cultural significance in Qatar.”
Al Janoub’s cooling technology
The stadium is not only popular for its physical looks; it has a cooling system to spare patrons from too much heat.
“The view from inside the stadium is just as stunning, where bowed beams hold up the roof, resembling a ship’s hull and allowing light to flood into the arena. Plenty of light doesn’t mean too much heat though. Alongside an innovative cooling system, ingenious design plays a part in keeping fans, players, and officials comfortable,” a publication on the official website of Games reads.
The engineer leading this project is Dr. Saud Abdul Ghani, a professor at the College of Engineering at Qatar University.
Explaining how the technology works at the stadium, Dr. Abdul Ghani said, “we use the platform of the stadium to defend it against the infiltration of warm wind. This means the stadium is a barrier that is basically containing a cold bubble inside. The technology works by maintaining the cold bubble for as long as necessary, in order for people to watch the game and make the players comfortable.”
Which games will be played at the stadium during the world cup?
According to the game schedule, the Al Janoub stadium will host 8 games, starting from the Group Stages to the Round of 16 games. Ghana’s senior male national team will also use the stadium when it comes up against Uruguay on December 2 for the final stage of the group.
The following group stage games will be played at the stadium:
When is the competition starting?
The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off on Monday, November 21 with Africa Champions, Senegal, coming up against the Netherlands at the Al Thumama Stadium. Other games to feature on an opening day are England vs Iran, Qatar vs. Ecuador, and USA vs. Wales.
Ghana’s World Cup journey will begin on Thursday, November 24 when they face Portugal at Stadium 974 before going to face South Korea and Uruguay in Group H.