The desert sands of Qatar may not seem like the likeliest venue for the world’s most prestigious soccer competition, but Albert Speer, Jr. and his supporters are hoping to turn a bid for the 2022 World Cup – once referred to as the ‘biggest football joke of all time – into a sustainability-minded reality.
In his designs for a $140 billion sports campus, Speer includes eight new ‘self-cooling’ stadiums, utilizing the region’s intense solar heat to power ‘absorption cooling’ techniques. The stadiums are also designed to be easily disassembled and moved to other countries, making many of the infrastructural investments temporary.
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Some, however, will be longer lasting – many acres of hotels, a high speed rail system, and an airport capable of moving 60 million passengers per year will be built alongside the sports campus.
The massive project is next in a long line of ambitious construction projects to come from the rolling profits of the black gold rush in the region, but whether Speer can transform it from mere spectacle into a genuine symbol of sustainable development remains to be seen.