DILI (10 Nov 2011) – After all the talk of using state-of-the-art air conditioning to cool stadiums at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the architect in charge of one of the venues claimed this week that a more old-fashioned solution would be cheaper and better.
Leading firm Populous, which is designing the Sports City stadium in Doha, is trying to persuade Qatari organizers to scrap plans to have air conditioning at the venue.
Populous director John Barrow said the system was too expensive and ‘notoriously unsustainable’ for the environment when used on a large scale.
“It is about air movement, moisture in the air and it is about temperature at the right time of day,” Barrow told delegates at the International Football Arena conference. “That is the way ahead.”
Air-conditioned stadiums to beat 50-degree Celsius desert heat in June were a defining theme of Qatar’s winning bid last year.
Qatar hired Populous to help their campaign, drawing on the firm’s experience in building signature projects such as the new Yankee Stadium, London’s 2012 Olympic Stadium and Arsenal’s Emirates arena.
Barrow now believes the planned Sports City arena can be kept cool by shading seats and using traditional Arabic methods for ventilation. He proposes wind towers that suck up hot air to create fan-like air movement inside the 47,000-capacity stadium.
“If you’ve got air movement which keeps you cool like a fan, that makes all the difference,” he said.
Qatar promised FIFA that their World Cup stadiums could be regulated at around 26 degrees. Now, Barrow says spectators could be kept comfortable at 30 degrees with low humidity during evening matches.
Ghana forward Asamoah Gyan, who has played for United Arab Emirates club Al Ain since September, predicted that the ‘climate for the World Cup is going to be really, really difficult.’
“Without air conditioning, I don’t think people can survive because it’s really, really hot,” Gyan said.
SOURCE: Associated Press