No Air Conditioning for 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Despite the fears over extreme heat, the stadium air conditioning is in doubt for 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The architect in charge of one of the venues, suggested that a more old-fashioned solution would be cheaper and better, despite after all the talk of using state of the art air conditioning to keep stadiums cool at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Qatari organisers are trying to be persuaded, by leading firm Populous, which is designing the Sports City stadium in Doha, to scrap the idea of having air conditioning in at the venue.

John Barrow, Populous director, said that the system is “notoriously unsustainable” for the environment when used on a large scale and far too expensive.

Barrow said, “I think you can be more clever. It is about air movement, moisture in the air and it is about temperature at the right time of day,

“If we get it right … that is the way ahead,” he added.

The defining theme of Qatar’s winning bid last year was air-conditioned stadiums to beat 50C desert heat in June.
Populous was hired by Qatar to help its campaign because of their experience in building signature projects such as London’s 2012 Olympic Stadium, Arsenal’s Emirates arena and the new Yankee Stadium.

The FIFA inspection team was persuaded that the firm’s prototype of their stadium could succeed.

Barrow now believes, however, that the planned stadium can be kept cool by using traditional Arabic methods for ventilation and shading the seas,

The proposal is, is to have wind towers that suck up hot air to create fan-like movement inside the stadium, which has a capacity of 47,000.

Barrow said, “It is part of the building tradition in the Gulf to create wind towers which naturally ventilate. If you have got an air movement which keeps you cool like a fan that makes all the difference.”

FIFA was promised that its 12 World Cup stadiums could be regulated at around 26C, but now spectators could be kept cool at 30C, with low humidity during the evening.

He said, “It doesn’t need to be 26 degrees. Fan expectation needs to be a little more relaxed.”

Until the scheduled kickoff in June 2022, Qatar is likely to be challenged on heat issues. The organising committees have suggested switching to midwinter dates, but officials have said that there are no plans to change.
Asamoah Gyan, Ghana forward, who since September has played for United Arab Emirates club Al Ain on loan from Sunderland, predicted that the “climate for the World Cup is going to be really, really difficult.

“They are putting air conditioning in the stadiums and I think maybe it can help the football there because without that I don’t think people can survive because it’s really, really hot.”

Barrow said that Populous is “actively engaged” in talks with the Qatari government about its World Cup plan.

“They are strongly of the opinion that they need to build now so that they can demonstrate their commitment, but in fact they have got loads of time,” he said, suggesting that waiting could allow new technology to develop.

“There is still a long way until 2022.”