Qatari architect Ibrahim M. Jaidah discusses the design journey for the sixth FIFA World Cup 2022 venue, Al Thumama Stadium, to be unveiled by the SC the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.


What started as a sketch for a design competition now stands as an architectural gem ready to host the world’s best footballers in 2022. The stunning Al Thumama Stadium will be inaugurated on October 22, ahead of the Amir Cup Final between Al Sadd and Al Rayyan.

Ibrahim M. Jaidah, CEO and Chief Architect of Arab Engineering Bureau, the person behind the design of the stadium, explained that architects around the world were invited to submit designs inspired by the ‘gahfiya’ – a traditional headpiece worn by men across the Arab world – for a new stadium to be used during the FIFA World Cup 2022.

He recalls heading to the Old Souq – a traditional marketplace in Qatar – for inspiration prior to putting his ideas on paper. “I remember that night, I got my hands on all types of gahfiyas in order to study the different patterns on each. I always wore it as a child, however I didn’t expect to see all the different shapes and the depth of their designs,” he says.

The creative process led to many sleepless nights. He adds: “I used to wake up in the middle of the night to examine the patterns on the different gahfiyas. I finally drew a rough sketch that I liked and told my engineers that this will be the design we are going with.”

One of Jaidah’s main goals was to produce a design that resonated with people across the entire region. He says: “I had a feeling my competitors were going to take the original shape and completely modernise it; removing its traditional essence and making it look nothing like a gahfiya. I wanted to ensure my design was modern but, at the same time, I didn’t want to strip from it its traditional identity. Preserving local identity and heritage was of paramount importance to me.”

Al Thumama Stadium will host the 49th Amir Cup Final and become the latest FIFA World Cup 2022 venue to be unveiled, after Khalifa International, Al Janoub, Education City, Ahmad Bin Ali and Al Bayt. During Qatar 2022, Al Thumama will host eight matches up to the quarter-finals stage of the tournament. Ibrahim is confident that the venue will showcase local heritage and prove popular across Qatar and the region. “I still stand and try to take it all in. I am very proud to take part in my country’s success in hosting the biggest sporting event in the world,” he says.

“My advice to young architects is to keep an eye an out for any opportunity that comes your way. This is a fulfilling field and nothing is more satisfying than seeing your design come to life.” ✤

GO: TICKETS FOR THE AMIR CUP FINAL BETWEEN AL RAYYAN AND AL SADD AT AL THUMAMA STADIUM ON OCTOBER 22 ARE AVAILABLE NOW FROM THE QATAR FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION WEBSITE: TICKETS.QFA.QA