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Wed 24 Jul 2019 09:55 AM

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Where are they now? The Crystal Ball Museum

The football-shaped building was to be built off the coast of Doha on a manmade island

Where are they now? The Crystal Ball Museum
The Crystal Ball was a sphere-shaped museum which would focus on football (Images from Sangrad+AVP)

As part of our ongoing summer series, we will be looking back at some of the most colourful and extraordinary proposals pitched in the UAE and the wider Gulf and investigating what happened to them.

In the last few days, we have looked at plans for an underwater tennis stadium pitched by a Polish architect, Hollywood actor Brad Pitt’s ideas for a series of environmentally-friendly projects, a Swedish firm’s designs for a moving statue and a Chinese team’s ambitions for a technologically advanced neighbourhood in the shape of a globe.

We also covered a Hong Kong designer’s ambitions for a heart-shaped water park containing the world’s highest water slide, a former president of the Russian republic of Kalmykia’s dream of a city with towers shaped like a chessboard, plans for an underwater TV studio for the 2022 World Cup and a tower in Abu Dhabi with a futuristic exterior that can adjust to changes in the surrounding environment.

Today, we are looking at The Crystal Ball, a football-themed museum.

When Qatar was awarded hosting duties for the FIFA World Cup in 2022 in December 2010 a number of pretty outlandish projects were announced in Doha to celebrate the tournament.

According to Sangrad+AVP, an architecture firm based in Zagreb, plans for the football museum were drawn up in 2011 and the designs were presented to authorities in Doha in 2012.

The main focal point of the project was a tower in the shape of a crystal ball, which would use “the latest technology in terms of materials and structural engineering design” and would “become a self-sustained building”, according to the design notes.

The sphere-shaped building would be positioned on a manmade island off the coast and would be connected to the mainland by either underwater tunnel transportation or by water taxi.

The project was endorsed by Lord Bell, former chairman of the now defunct Bell Pottinger PR firm, who said the Crystal Ball building would become a symbol for Qatar, in the same way the Statue of Liberty is for the United States and the Houses of Parliament is for the United Kingdom.

A spokesperson for Sangrad+AVP told Arabian Business in May this year “the project came to a halt a few years ago and even though there have been some news here and there, we really don't know what the next step is and when will we continue with the project”.

Coming up tomorrow: The Herbie Theme Park

Check out some of the previous projects in the series:

Dubai’s underwater tennis stadium

Brad Pitt's eco-friendly Dubai projects

Dubai's moving statue

The Technosphere 

Dubai Heart Water Park Resort

International Chess City

Underwater World Cup TV studio

Abu Dhabi’s Bionic Tower (below)

Are there any projects from the past you would like Arabian Business to investigate and feature in this series? Contact us with your suggestions at

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