A FIFA challenge, met with LEGION!

Arab Engineering Bureau, which was tasked to design the 40,000-capacity Al Thumama Stadium for the FIFA World Cup, came up with a design that ensures safely vacation of the spectators within 90 minutes and their evacuation from there within eight minutes in case of emergency. Arab Engineering Bureau used LEGION to conduct pedestrian simulation, ensuring that the Al Thumama Stadium could be safely vacated within 90 minutes and evacuated within eight minutes.

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Arab Engineering Bureau was tasked with the schematic design and construction of the Al Thumama Stadium, which will host the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in November and December. Image courtesy of Arab Engineering Bureau.

Prathamesh Gawde:

The FIFA World Cup, being held in Qatar from November through December this year, has posed a huge challenge to the organizers. The State of Qatar has risen to the challenge and come up with stadiums and various infrastructure facilities of unrivalled in quality and scale.

Among the various challenges that the World Cup organisers threw before the construction fraternity as part of their preparations was the construction of the Al Thumama Stadium with a capacity to seat 40,000 spectators. Needless to say, with the help of the latest in technology, the challenge was met by Arab Engineering Bureau, which was tasked with the construction of the stadium.

The stadium was not to be just a sports venue that accommodates 40,000 spectators for the World Cup.  After the event, the venue would be transformed into a mixed-leisure facility, with a 20,000-person capacity, that is integrated into the city infrastructure. Arab Engineering Bureau was tasked with the schematic design and construction of this high-profile project. However, they had to demonstrate that the design would allow for the stadium seating area to be vacated quickly, all the while facing a short project timeline and a project site in the Al Thumama area.

The project team selected LEGION to perform dynamic modeling and real-time pedestrian simulation to justify the area and facility requirements for ingress, egress, halftime, and emergency scenarios. Image courtesy of Arab Engineering Bureau.

Evaluating pedestrian movement

To overcome these challenges, Arab Engineering Bureau realized that they needed a dynamic digital solution. With so many people expected at the World Cup and the events that follow, they needed a software that would allow them to evaluate pedestrian flows, ensuring safe and optimal movement throughout the stadium.

Additionally, the development needed to showcase the stadium at different operational modes: a base build mode to test capacity, a tournament mode to test flow during the FIFA World Cup matches, and a legacy mode to test day-to-day operations after the tournament. The software also needed to seamlessly connect all members of the Arab Engineering Bureau team, as well as their team of international consultants working in various specialized disciplines.

Simulation Models

Already familiar with Bentley applications, Arab Engineering Bureau selected LEGION to perform dynamic modeling and real-time pedestrian simulation to justify the area and facility requirements for ingress, egress, halftime, and emergency scenarios. Each design mode had its own requirements in terms of planning and design, and the team worked to synchronize all the disciplines for each operational models while considering their implementation and the short project timeframe.

They validated transport strategy proposals against the crowd movement requirements, ensuring that the facility could meet pedestrian demand, as well as drop-off, parking, and bus requirements. The application also helped avoid potential vehicle and pedestrian conflicts outside the stadium.

“Use of LEGION helped us understand crowd movement within the stadium. Al Thumama Stadium will represent Qatar’s history, while embracing the state-of-the-art practices to ensure it will be arena of the future.” — Ibrahim M. Jaidah, Chief Architect and GCEO, Arab Engineering Bureau.

Aesthetically pleasing and safe

By using LEGION, Arab Engineering Bureau optimized design in coordination with architects and planners to ensure that everyone could safely leave the precincts within 90 minutes after an event, and the seating area within eight minutes in an emergency evacuation scenario.

“Use of LEGION helped us understand crowd movement within the stadium. Al Thumama Stadium will represent Qatar’s history, while embracing the state-of-the-art practices to ensure it will be arena of the future, said Ibrahim M. Jaidah, Chief Architect and GCEO, Arab Engineering Bureau.

He is spot on. The application has helped Arab Engineering Bureau to create an environmentally and socially sustainable space that is engineered to accommodate the venue’s transformation from the World Cup venue to post-event daily operations.

Achieving GSAS four-star certification, the final design resembles a gahfiya, a traditional woven cap worn by men and boys across the Middle East. The space will promote social, environmental, and economic development long after the FIFA World Cup.