Giving football players, supporters and match officials the feeling of playing in the open air while designing a stadium and its associated facilities within four walls was the challenge faced by RAW-NYC Architects.
The client required the concept design for the Aspire Sports Complex in Doha, Qatar to include two pitches, along with a reception, offices, café, a viewing gallery, sports store, changing rooms and showering and sanitary facilities.
The architects said what they needed to create was a sporting community which made players, spectators and staff at the centre, all feel that they were part of a natural arena for sports – using natural light, passive cooling and landscaped space to create the likeness of an outdoor stadium.
The design forms part of a large-scale sports-themed development in the city including medical facilities, stadia and indoor arenas.
“What was required was the project gave everyone involved the idea that they were taking part in sport played or watched out of doors,” said architect Raya Ani, who collected the award for Best Leisure Project for the design at the Middle East Architect Awards.
“The client has a real passion for football and when they were younger had no real place to play. So they wanted to give young people the chance to really experience what football is about.”
One of the chief issues the designers faced was incorporating administration facilities and spectator areas into the design. Operators of the centre have not yet been finalised – but the design team wanted to ensure they felt as much a part of the final development as users and spectators.
Ani said: “A series of floating bubbles-shaped structures which contained the offices and viewing galleries are an integral part of the design, so that those who are working at the centre and managing it also feel part of the ‘outside-indoors’ concept. These bubbles contain offices and all the other necessary facilities – as well as viewing areas and place where VIPS can hire to watch matches.
“All of the people using the stadium can benefit from the design which makes the indoor seems like outside.”