“I have a challenge for you,” said Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Thani to acclaimed architect Ibrahim M. Jaidah. “How can we turn this number into a building?” This conversation was the start of an incredible project – one that would lead to the development of one of Qatar’s most striking developments: the stunning iCONIC 2022.
Situated in Doha Sports City, the magnificent structure pays tribute to Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup. It is a monument to the country’s hard work and commitment over the past 12 years – and will remain a groundbreaking architectural masterpiece for future generations; a reminder of a major milestone in the country’s development.
Here we talk to the men behind the project: Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Thani, the concept creator and developer of the building, and award-winning architect Ibrahim M. Jaidah, Chief Architect of Arab Engineering Bureau and the man behind another magnificent structure – Al Thumama Stadium, which will host matches up to the quarter-finals stage during Qatar 2022.
DESIGN AND VISION iCONIC 2022 is the first building in the world to resemble a year – and the unique structure started with a simple concept: “Winning the bid was a dream come true for all of us and I wanted to document this incredible milestone in Qatar’s history,” said Al Thani. “I wanted to build something for this generation as a reminder of what we are able to achieve. High Highness the Father Amir and His Highness the Amir both taught us that nothing is impossible for the people of Qatar.” Al Thani considered several designs but settled on showing the number that will forever be a part of Qatar’s history.
“We had a design option inspired by the World Cup trophy. But, the trophy does not belong to Qatar – the year 2022 belongs to us. We wanted to create a building related to the year and the generation that made the tournament happen. I want the building to stand as a beautiful memory.”
JAIDAH’S LATEST CONTRIBUTION TO QATAR 2022 For Jaidah, it was yet another opportunity to create a structure related to Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup. He said: “It was a great idea – and one that presented a huge challenge. I treated it a little like a stadium – as they are structures that are usually photographed from an aerial view. I wanted to make sure the number could be seen from all angles – and that’s why the building has five faces, all showing the number 2022, so you can read it from all sides.”
Jaidah continued: “I feel honoured to have created structures that will stand as a reminder of the World Cup. As a Qatari, it feels great to leave my mark. This is the least I can do.”
LOCATION AND LEGACY iCONIC 2022 is just a stone’s throw away from Khalifa International Stadium, which will host matches up to the third-place play-off during the World Cup. The building is also close to Aspire zone, Aspire Academy and Aspetar – all facilities that support Qatar’s commitment to sporting development: “This location is the most important sports hub in the world. We couldn’t find a more suitable location for this building,” said Jaidah.
As well as a tourist hot spot, iCONIC 2022 is a multi-purpose building that consists of offices, gymnasiums, a supermarket and a wide array of dining options. For Al Thani, his goal is to encourage healthy lifestyles while forever paying tribute to Qatar’s World Cup vision: “This building will be here for years to come. I hope future generations remember the miracle of turning our World Cup dream into reality every time they pass this building,” said Al Thani.
I am a young and vibrant sports journalist from Ghana, a member of the Sports Writers’ Association of Ghana(SWAG), and working with Sports Preview Ghana and sports reporting outfit poised to bring all the latest and trending sports news around the globe.