Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre, Doha

Al Shaqab, Qatar Foundation’s equestrian complex in Doha, is the region’s leading equine education resource centre. WSP provided civil and structural engineering, building services and infrastructure design for the award-winning project, which includes a performance arena, equestrian club, riding school, mosque, museum, veterinary hospital, stable facilities and Royal accommodation.

The centrepiece of the 980,000 square metre complex is the International Equestrian Arena, a combined indoor and outdoor competition facility capable of hosting Olympic-standard events.

We delivered the structural design for the internal arena’s clam-shaped steel roof. Our visually strong and simple solution provides a clear expression of the 350 metre-long roof as an all-encompassing entity shielding the activities below from the harsh Arabian climate. We completed the design in just six months, a challenging time-scale dictated by the need to be ready for the 2006 Asian Games.

The roof profile is curved in two directions, with clear spans of up to 120 metres, and supported on steel trusses of triangular cross section. As it has no movement joints, our engineers had to find a way to reduce the locked-in forces caused by the large temperature range. We also carried out a wind tunnel aerodynamic stability study to minimise vibration risk. In addition, the roof supports the high- intensity performance lighting within the envelope instead of conventional high-mast configuration.