It makes a lot of sense in a country with no workers and five other permanent stadia.
TreeHugger loves shipping containers, the big metal boxes that make the world go round. The infrastructure of ships and ports and cranes that they spawned have dropped the cost of shipping to a fraction of what it was 50 years ago; they are the internet of transportation.
But that's not enough; people keep trying to make them do more, to turn them into buildings. And now they are being used to build the Ras Abu Aboud stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar. It is designed by Fenwick Iribarren Architects of Madrid, who have some experience with stadia, if not with shipping containers. It will apparently be totally demountable and removable after the event, and it's sustainable! According to the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy,
Constructed using shipping containers, removable seats and other modular ‘building blocks’, not only will this innovative, 40,000-seat venue have a remarkable design, but it will be entirely dismantled and repurposed after the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™. Its parts will be used in other sporting or non-sporting projects, setting a new standard in sustainability and introducing bold new ideas in tournament legacy planning.
As well as providing invaluable infrastructure to sporting projects far and wide, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium will also give global stadium developers and tournament planners a fine example to follow. The venue’s temporary nature and clever modular design will mean that fewer building materials will be required than in traditional stadium building, helping to keep construction costs down.
Looking at all the sexy renderings and videos, it is hard to see what exactly the shipping containers are doing. They all seem to fly around in the air and then get plugged into a giant steel frame structure.
The stair towers appear to be made of shipping containers stacked on top of one another, but everywhere else they appear to be, frankly, decorative. But the rest of the building is modular and demountable and likely fits inside the shipping containers for transport to the next venue.
There is a certain logic to prefabricating the stadium; working conditions in Qatar are not the best, with temperatures around 120 degrees F and many complaints of abuse of migrant workers. Using prefabrication, modular construction and containerization, the project can be built in a country (probably China) where there are lots of workers and more moderate temperatures. And since it is unlikely that Qatar needs six stadia after the World Cup, it makes a lot of sense to make it demountable.
The architects say that "the stadium has a capacity of 40,000 and its structure is based on shipping containers which can be easily assembled or disassembled as required." A press release notes that "by using modular shipping container blocks containing removable seats, concession stands, bathrooms and merchandise booths, the stadium’s layout can easily be adjusted in the future."
This isn't really shipping container architecture, but it is demountable and relocatable and transportable inside shipping containers, and that is what shipping containers do best: They want to move. It makes sense.