SUMAN NAISHADHAM Associated Press
That’s what the games’ organizers have said about Stadium 974 in Doha — a port-side structure with more than 40,000 seats partially built from recycled shipping containers and steel.
Qatar says the stadium will be fully dismantled after the World Cup and could be shipped to countries that need the infrastructure. Outside experts have praised the design, but say more needs to be known about what happens to the stadium after the event.
“Designing for disassembly is one of the main principles of sustainable building,” said Karim Elgendy, an associate fellow at the London-based Chatham House think tank who previously worked as a climate consultant for the World Cup.
“It allows for the natural restoration of a building site or its reuse for another function,” he said, adding that a number of factors need to considered “before we call a building sustainable.”
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Buildings are responsible for nearly 40% of the world’s energy-related carbon emissions. Of that, about 10% comes from “embodied” carbon or the greenhouse gas emissions related to the construction, maintenance and demolition of buildings.
Qatar has faced international criticism for its treatment of low-paid migrant workers who built over $200 billion worth of stadiums, metro lines and other infrastructure for the World Cup. Qatar says the criticism ignores labor reforms enacted in recent years.
Stadium 974, named after Qatar’s international dialing code and the number of containers used to build the stadium, is the only venue that Qatar constructed for the World Cup that isn’t air-conditioned. During a match Friday in which Switzerland defeated Serbia, the air was noticeably more humid and hot than in other venues.
The stadium is hosting only evening matches, when temperatures are cooler.
Fenwick Iribarren Architects, which designed Stadium 974 and two other World Cup stadiums, says the idea was to avoid building a “white elephant,” a stadium that is left unused or underused after the tournament ends, as happened following previous World Cups in South Africa, Brazil and Russia.
Qatar says it has developed plans for the other six stadiums after the games are over. Many will have a number of seats removed.
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The multi-colored shipping containers are used as building blocks for Stadium 974 and also to house facilities such as restrooms in the interior of the structure. Like giant Lego blocks, the bright red, yellow and blue corrugated steel boxes appear suspended between layers of steel. The design gives the stadium an industrial feel.
Qatar has not detailed where the dismounted stadium will go after the tournament or even when it will be taken down. Organizers have said the stadium could be repurposed to build a venue of the same size elsewhere or multiple smaller stadiums.
Where its components go matters because of the emissions implicated by shipping them thousands of kilometers away.
Carbon Market Watch, an environmental watchdog group that investigated Qatar’s World Cup sustainability plans, said whether Stadium 974 has a lower carbon footprint than a permanent one comes down to “how many times, and how far, the stadium is transported and reassembled.”
FIFA and Qatar acknowledge that in a report estimating the stadium’s emissions. If the stadium is reused only once, they estimate its emissions would be lower than a permanent one as long as it is shipped fewer than 7,000 kilometers (about 4,350 miles) away.
If it’s repurposed more than once, it could be shipped farther and still be less polluting than a permanent venue, they said, because of how energy-intensive building multiple new stadiums is.
Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the organizing committee for the World Cup, did not respond to a request for more information about plans after the tournament.
The report also didn’t factor in operational emissions — or those produced from running a building — once the stadium is repurposed because standards vary in different countries, FIFA and Qatar said.
“The energy required for dismantling and shipping the building components will obviously need to be estimated,” Elgendy said, “but it is unlikely to outweigh the carbon embodied in the building materials.”
For now, the stadium’s design isn’t lost on spectators. On any game night, fans entering and leaving the stadium take selfies against its modern, industrial facade. The temporary stadium is hosting seven games in total — with the final one on Monday between Brazil and South Korea.
Jhonarel Miñoza, a 42-year-old Qatari resident originally from the Philippines, said she and her sister wanted to see a game in each of the seven stadiums.
Miñoza, an administrative officer who has lived in Qatar for five years, said she had heard about Stadium 974′s unconventional design before the game she attended on Friday.
“I was really eager to know how they built it,” Miñoza said. “When I came inside here, I was just checking how they did that.”
Gallery: Soccer’s most memorable World Cup moments
FILE – Brazil’s Pele, center, is hoisted on the shoulders of his teammates after Brazil won the World Cup soccer final against Italy, 4-1, in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, Mexico. Brazil’s third World Cup triumph meant it kept the Jules Rimet trophy for good. The Hand of God. Zidane’s headbutt. Gazza’s tears. Many of soccer’s most iconic moments have taken place at the World Cup, the latest edition of which starts in Qatar on Sunday. The Associated Press has covered the tournament through the years and followed the world’s greatest players, none more so than Diego Maradona and Pelé.(AP Photo, file)
FILE – Uruguay’s first goal in the World Cup final soccer match against Argentina, in Montevideo, Uruguay on July 30, 1930. Uruguay defeated Argentina by four goals to two. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – The Italian soccer team perform the fascist salute in Colombes Stadium, Paris, before the start of the World Cup final soccer match against Hungary on June 19, 1938. Earlier in the tournament that was taking place amid the drumbeat of war, the team caused consternation by wearing black shirts in a match. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – U.S. center forward Joe Gaetjens is carried off by cheering fans after his team beat England 1-0 in a World Cup soccer match in Belo Horizonte, Brazil on June 28, 1950. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – Uruguay player Ghiggia scores during the World Cup final soccer match against Brazil, in the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on July 16, 1950. Uruguay won 2-1. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – West Germany‘s Helmut Rahn, center with arms raised, celebrates after equalizing in the World Cup final soccer match against Hungary, at Wankdorf Stadium, in Bern, Switzerland on July 4, 1954. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – Brazil’s 17-year-old Pele, left, weeps on the shoulder of goalkeeper Gilmar Dos Santos Neves, after Brazil’s 5-2 victory over Sweden in the World Cup final soccer match, in Stockholm, Sweden on June 29, 1958. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – Italian forward Giorgio Ferrini, centre, is sent off by British referee Ken Aston after an incident during the first half of the World Cup soccer match against Chile in Santiago on June 2, 1962. Ferrini refused to leave the field and was removed by police officers. The match has been labelled the ‘Battle of Santiago’. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – Detective Chief Inspector William Little, left, holds the World Cup, as Senior Commander John Lawlor, centre, and Chief Superintendent William Gilbert, admire the cup after its safe return to the police at Cannon Row Police Station, (Scotland Yard), London on March 28, 1966. The cup was returned to the police after it was found in the garden of David Corbett’s home in Beulah Hill, Norwood, London, United Kingdom, by his mongrel dog “Pickles” who sniffed it out while being taken for a walk. (AP Photo/Rider-Rider, File)
FILE – A shot from England’s Geoff Hurst, not in photo, bounces down from the West Germany crossbar during the World Cup final at London’s Wembley Stadium on July 30, 1966. The linesman gave it as a goal and England went to to win 4-2. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – The teams from West Germany, in white shirts, and East Germany line up for the national anthems before the start of the World Cup Group 1 soccer match in Hamburg, on June 22, 1974. The match ended in a 1-0 win for East Germany. (AP Photo, File)
FILE – West Germany captain, Franz Beckenbauer holds up the World Cup trophy after his team defeated the Netherlands 2-1, in the World Cup final soccer match at Munich’s Olympic stadium, in West Germany on July 7, 1974. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – Mario Kempes of Argentina, right, celebrates, after scoring Argentina’s second goal against the Netherlands, during their World Cup final soccer match, at the River Plate Stadium, in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Sunday, June 25, 1978. It was Argentina’s first World Cup triumph. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – Algerian soccer supporters show money to photographers in protest, in Gijon, Spain, after the World Cup soccer match between West Germany and Austria on June 25, 1982. West Germany were leading Austria 1-0 after 10 minutes of play, then both teams pointlessly kicked the ball around, barely breaking a sweat and ensuring they both qualified at Algeria’s expense. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – Captain Carlos Alberto, center, of Brazil, holds the gold Jules Rimet trophy after his team defeated Italy in the World Cup final soccer match at Azteca Stadium, in Mexico City, June 21, 1970. Brazil won, 4-1. (AP Photo/Gianni Foggia, File)
FILE – Italy’s Paolo Rossi celebrates, after scoring the second goal for his team during their World Cup match second round soccer match against Brazil, in Barcelona, Spain on July 5, 1982. Italy, who beat Brazil 3-2 in a classic match, went on to win the tournament with Rossi scoring six goals. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – Italy’s Marco Tardelli, right, hits the ball past West German defender Bernd Forster, to score his team’s second goal, during the World Cup Final in the Santiago Bernabau Stadium, Madrid,on July 11, 1982. Italy defeated West Germany 3-1. (AP Photo, File)
FILE – Argentina’s Diego Maradona, left, beats England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to a high ball and scores his first of two goals in a World Cup quarterfinal soccer match, in Mexico City on June 22, 1986. This goal has gone down as the “Hand of God” as Maradona used his left fist to knock a ball past England’s Shilton. (El Grafico, Buenos Aires via AP/File)
FILE – Argentina’s Diego Maradona, second left, is about to score his second goal against England, during their World Cup quarter final soccer match, in Mexico City, Mexico on June 22, 1986. England’s Terry Butcher, left, tries to tackle Maradona, while England’s goalkeeper Peter Shilton is on the ground. Argentina won the match 2-1. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – Diego Maradona, holds up the trophy, after Argentina beat West Germany 3-2 in the World Cup soccer final match, at the Atzeca Stadium, in Mexico City on June 29, 1986. (AP Photo/Carlo Fumagalli, File)
FILE – Dejected Argentine players Nestor Gabriel Lorenzo, left, and Jorge Luis Burruchaga walk off the pitch, past unidentified celebrating Cameroon players, after the opening match of the soccer World Cup, in Milan, Italy on June 8, 1990. The World Cup has produced its fair share of shocks, not least when Cameroon defeated defending champion Argentina 1-0 in 1990. (AP Photo/File)
FILE – England’s Paul Gascoigne cries as he is escorted off the field by team captain Terry Butcher, after England lost a penalty shoot-out in the World Cup semifinal soccer match against West Germany in Turin, Italy on July 4, 1990. (AP Photo/Roberto Pfeil, File)
FILE – Colombia‘s Andres Escobar, lies on the ground during a World Cup soccer match against the United States in the Rose Bowl, Pasadena on June 22, 1994. The US defeated Colombia by 2-1, with Escobar scoring an own-goal. Just a few days later, Escobar was shot dead in his home town of Medellin. (AP Photo/Eric Draper, File)
FILE – Roberto Baggio of Italy looks disappointed after Brazilian goalkeeper Taffarel saved his penalty shot, during the World Cup Final, in Pasadena, Ca., USA, on July 17, 1994. Brazil defeated Italy 3-2 on penalties in the final to win the World Cup. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File)
FILE – French striker Zinedine Zidane holds up the World Cup trophy after France defeated Brazil 3-0 during the final of the soccer World Cup 98 at the Stade de France in Paris on Sunday, July 12, 1998. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)
FILE – Brazil’s Ronaldo celebrates scoring against Germany during the World Cup final soccer match at the Yokohama stadium in Yokohama, Japan on June 30, 2002. Brazil won the match 2-0 with Ronaldo scoring both goals. . (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic, File)
FILE – France’s Zinedine Zidane, left, looks on as Italy’s Marco Materazzi lies injured, and Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro reacts, during extra time in the World Cup final soccer match between Italy and France, at the Olympic Stadium, in Berlin on July 9, 2006. Zidane was sent off minutes before the end of the final after head-butting Italy defender Materazzi. (AP Photo/Jasper Juinen, File)
FILE – Spain’s Andres Iniesta celebrates after scoring the only goal in the World Cup final soccer match against the Netherlands at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)
FILE – Uruguay’s Luis Suarez holds his teeth after colliding with Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder during the group D World Cup soccer match between Italy and Uruguay at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil on June 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan, File)
FILE – Brazil’s Fernandinho reacts after Germany’s Toni Kroos during scored his side’s third goal during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Germany won the match 7-1. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)
FILE – Germany’s Mario Goetze scores his side’s first goal in extra time against Argentina’s goalkeeper Sergio Romero during the World Cup final soccer match at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)
FILE – From left to right, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Croatia‘s President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic stand under the pouring rain during the awards ceremony after final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, July 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, File)
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