Joachim Schares, partner at Albert Speer and Partners, talks to MEA about making a dream reality.
Firstly, congratulations, you must be very pleased with FIFA’s decision?
Yes of course, it was an overwhelming success for us because during the weeks leading up to the bid Qatar had really be seen as the outsider in the race. So we were obviously delighted when it won. Of course when you work on such designs there is always in your mind how it will be when you have the chance to implement them, and we hope that we will continue our planning work in the next weeks, months and hopefully years to see these stadiums implemented.
How did Albert Speer and Partners involvement in the Qatari bid come about?
We met the Qatari delegation for the first time last year in March, then in June we started the submission and finalised everything in May this year. So the whole thing has only taken 10 or 11 months. All of the stadiums that have been shown in the layout show all of the technical aspects of the stadium, to make FIFA comfortable and the public as well. We wanted to show FIFA how these stadiums would look.
And now that the bid has been successful, what next?
Now we have to work out the plans in more detail, not just in the practical way but in terms of actual detailing. These stadiums have been planned conceptually, now we will look at how they will work financially, technologically, and so on. I don’t think there’s any need to change them, but sometimes technology changes, and costs will be discussed too.
In your opinion, what most concerned FIFA about the Qatari bid?
The climate was their main concern, of course, when you think that this tournament is going to be held in July. But the submission explained our special cooling technology, and the example stadium built in Qatar also helped to convince them. The other concern was whether the construction industry was ready for the challenge, given that there are so many different aspects going on at the same time – infrastructure, transport, the stadiums, hotels and facilities. This is a significant amount of work and in 12 years time even if one of these things isn’t built, Qatar will not be ready.
Do you have a favourite stadium?
Well, I love them all to be honest, but I guess if I had to choose it would be the Al Khor Stadium, which is based on the shape of a shell. I know others have different favourites, the Doha Port Stadium – which looks like a sea animal – is very popular.
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