Innovative roof at Khalifa International Stadium nears completion

8 December 2016

An innovative new roof is in the process of being installed at Khalifa International Stadium, which will provide more shade to the stands and pitch, while also letting enough sunlight through to the turf for natural growth of the grass.

The ‘big lift’ operation of the roof is completed and the installation of the roof membrane are currently ongoing and will continue until early January, with completion of the stadium renovation planned for the first quarter of 2017.

The main components of the roof membrane are manufactured in Japan and USA respectively. A 44,000 m2 membrane made of two materials is being used to achieve FIFA requirements regarding sunlight over the pitch on the first proposed host venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ set for completion.  

An intricate net of German and Italian-made steel tension cables weighing 4,000 tonnes has been put up to hold the 92 panels that will make up the roof. Both ETFE and PTFE panels were shipped from Japan and USA to Mexico for cutting and welding patterns.

Eng. Mansoor Al-Muhannadi, Khalifa International Stadium – Project Manager at Aspire Zone Foundation, told “We are very pleased with the progress on site, from the exterior parts to the forthcoming installation of the new roof structure. It will be a proud moment for everyone in the team when the construction is completed for the first proposed host venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™, and this is what the team on site is working towards on a daily basis.”  

After the renovation, the stadium will seat more than 40,000 spectators and will be completely cooled, including the field of play, all seats and concourses. “When we did the shadow analysis we noticed a portion of the southern side of the field of play wouldn’t get any sunlight if we used only PTFE. Meanwhile, ETFE is a more transparent material that allows more than 80 per cent of sunlight to go onto the turf,” Al-Muhannadi added.

Meanwhile, Eng. Mohemed Ahmed, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) Project Manager for Khalifa International Stadium and Al Bayt Stadium – Al Khor City, explained: “The design of the roof is a fantastic idea from an engineering perspective. ETFE is a material that is now becoming popular for this type of use and it was also used for the Allianz Arena in Munich.”

He continued: “The majority of the ring is assembled on the ground and later pulled up in what we call the big lift. The inner ring is being connected to the two arches using tension cables. This activity is now completed and the inner roof structure starts receiving the actual roof membrane.”

The external cladding and first LED screens are also coming up around the exterior of Khalifa International Stadium. The installation of LED screens has been taking place on the entrance wing of the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, which will form a part of the renovated stadium, while cladding can be seen going up all around the venue as it moves towards the completion stage.

Qatar’s historic Khalifa International Stadium is undergoing a comprehensive renovation to meet requirements and standards for FIFA World Cup™ stadiums, which includes adding a new building to the east wing, construction of an Olympic sports museum and building a single roof to cover the whole seating area. The stadium is a proposed host venue for 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ matches through to the quarter-finals.

A total of more than five million man-hours have been worked on site without any lost time, with site safety a top priority across all construction activities taking place at Khalifa International Stadium and all SC programme sites.  

The stadium holds a special place in Qatar and the region’s sporting history, hosting some of the most important local, regional and international sporting events since it was originally constructed in 1976.

It has hosted the Gulf Cup on two occasions, as well as the FIFA U-20 Youth World Championships in 1995, the 2006 Doha Asian Games, and international friendly matches between some of the top football teams in the world. In 2019, the stadium will also host the IAAF Athletics World Championships.