Qatar Sports Master Plan

Qatar Sports Master Plan

Key members of DESIGNSPORT are engaged as Lead Designer and Project Advisor for the design and development of a Sports Venue Master Plan for the country of Qatar for implementation within the Qatar 2030 Vision. The project includes but is not limited to the development of Sport Facility and Infrastructure plans, Sport Development plans and an Olympic Games Exploratory Study.

Old Delhi Chandni Chowk market

intro to the Designsport – Delhi 2000 and Ten videoblog

Working in different countries is not just about business, it’s about exchanging cultures…learning to listen…


and  have created a blog/film project to capture the spirit of this India adventure, as part of their continuous endeavor to experiment with communication and of offering a new perspective in sport.

Key members of designsport have been appointed as Expert Overlay Design Advisors to the DELHI 2010 COMMONWEALTH GAMES!

The Designsport Team has been engaged to design, develop and deliver the Overlays for 17 Competition Venues and 6 Non Competition Venues. Designsport have built a local team of Architects and Trained them in Operational and Overlay Design as part of Designsport proposal to provide a Games legacy for upcoming sporting events in India.

Interview with Samantha Cotterell

Interview with Samantha Cotterell

Doha based company Design Sport  is a design consultancy specializing in sport overlay design and major event infrastructure. Coliseum spoke to General Manager Samantha Cotterell.
link to coliseum

Coliseum: “Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became an expert in sports event planning and design?”

Samantha Cotterell:  “I began my career as an architect in big architectural offices in Milan working on large scale projects such as museums, art galleries, World Expo etc.. It was during my years in Milan that I would travel to the Greek islands for the summer and it was there that I met some people who were putting together a bid to carry out all the design + delivery of the Overlays for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games they suggested I contribute my CV which I did flippantly. It wasn’t until 6 months later that I got a call to say they had won the bid + “when was I moving to Athens?”. I had to make some very serious decisions regarding my personal life but in hindsight I made the right ones when I joined the Olympic Organizing Committee as a senior architect working on the main Olympic Park. I spent four years in Athens and carried out various roles in support of the Games: firstly 2 years inside the Organizing Committee, then 2 years with a Sport Architecture firm, Decathlon, which became the main consultant to the Contractor for all the Category A venues.  My passion for sport events started there in Greece after experiencing a most formative + rewarding 4 years. Professionally, I felt event architecture was akin to the work  I was doing for museums and exhibition centres but had the added excitement and dynamism of the competition + efforts of human spirit – I felt privileged to be involved in the preparation of arenas that contribute to great historical moments.”

Coliseum: “Interesting. But it is a long way from Greece to Qatar, isn’t it?”

Samantha Cotterelll: “Not really! Not culturally! Not geographically!  During the Athens Games the organisers of the next Asian Games came to Athens recruiting. I was not one of the recruits, but a friend and ex-colleague of mine had moved to Doha to take the big job in Overlay Development. She needed someone she could trust to head the design team for 39 sport venues and I was the lucky person she approached! Thus it was that I moved myself and my children to Doha. That was 5 years ago now. Following the experience with the Asian Games I began to build DESIGNSPORT as there were many opportunities and no local expertise. I chose to stay in Doha because its location is geographically favourable, and the connections I had made during my employment as Head of Overlay Design in the Doha 2006 Asian Games Organizing Committee were providing me with opportunities to grow the business. Doha is a growing city with great opportunities and the people make the experience very special – we very much enjoy and are grateful for our life in Qatar..”

Coliseum: “You have moved around a bit. Do you prefer a particular region to work in?”

Samantha Cotterell: “I adore working across cultures. I have lived  abroad most of my life and cannot conceive of a life without some degree of cultural adaptation. I love to travel, learn languages, enriching and sharing my knowledge and expertise while I learn from people + experiences. So, no, I do not prefer any particular region. I have recently worked in Dubai on Dubai Sport City and for the FINA 2013 World Swimming Championships bid, I am now working in India for the next Commonwealth Games, and quite recently we got the contract for the next Asian Football Cup 2011 in Qatar. Additionally, part of the business is based in Rome and part in Athens. My work keeps me on the move + I always look forward to the next adventure!.”

Coliseum: “What exactly are you doing for the Asian Football Cup?”

Samantha Cotterell: “For the Asian Football Cup existing venues will be used yet some degree of upgrade is required in addition to the overlay planning.  We are carrying out the operational planning and overlay design and development for all Competition and NonCompetition venues for this tournament.”

Coliseum: “There are a lot of architectural firms who are working in the venue design field. Where do you find your niche in between all these giants of sports venue designers?

”Samantha Cotterell: “Our work is specifically related to events. The architectural offices to which you refer carry out venue design as a building specialty yet few understand the operational requirements of the event that any given stadium will host. The DESIGNSPORT team is made up of exorganizing committee professionals who have gained their expertise from the client’s perspective – we understand what it takes to host the event from inception to delivery and have working knowledge of all major stakeholders – broadcast, sporting federations, media, sponsors, athletes, etc. –  this is our niche, our competitive edge as sport designers. ”

Coliseum: “This means you can also have influence in master plans and other areas of event hosting, if they do not meet the needs of the event.”

Samantha Cotterell: “DESIGNSPORT is a multidisciplinary and multicultural team. We have sport advisors, ex-athletes, film  makers, architects, graphic artists. We interject where the Clients most requires our expertise and tailor solutions covering a broad range of services: bid file compilation, venue + masterplan appraisals, overlay design, base venue design, promotional video, logo animation, sport marketing, Look of the Games, and other. We often partner with other leading specilaist to deliver the best possible result. ”

Coliseum: “Let’s talk about Doha. A lot of things are going on regarding new sports venues and events being held in the city. In the World Cup bid, nine new venues are planned. There are also large and small stadiums already in the city. Isn’t it a plan which is a little bit out of control?”

Samantha Cotterell: “Well, Doha has a greater plan, a greater programme. The Olympic Committee itself, which acts also as a Ministery of Sport, has launched it’s ‘Sport for Life’ campaign to create awareness of sport, from the community level to regional and elite athlete level. Many are critical of Qatar and its ambition as such a small country, but that undermines the extraordinary progress + growth it has had under the current Emir. Doha is on the map now thanks also to sporting events. Sport has the opportunity to raise the profile of the country while contributing to the health + wealth of its people.”

Coliseum: “Let’s talk a little about your work in India.”

Samantha Cotterell: “In Delhi we have built a team of seventeen architects who work inside the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games Organizing Committee. We have been appointed as expert overlay design  advisors and we are developing and delivering the overlay for 17 competition venues and six non competition venues which has been a challenge given the timeframe avaiable to us. We were brought in very late but have managed to be efficient and solution driven thanks only to our expertise + previous experience .”

Coliseum: “There is a lot more to do in India, isn’t there?”

Samantha Cotterell: “Yes there are a lot ofopportunities. India intends to bid for Asian Games and no doubt Olympics too. Much will, however, depend  on the success of these Commonwealth Games.  India is a  fantastically exciting place at this moment in time. I was in India twenty years ago as an architecture student and traveller, when I came back I could not believe the change. It is a thrill to be invited by the Indian Governement to work on one of their most prestigious projects and witness the phenomenon that is this leap into the 21st century, a transition pregnant with complexities and contradictions..”

Coliseum: “What we have learned about you is that you have two major hubs you are working in: one is Doha and the other is Delhi. What about Italy? Are you looking to go back there? A lot of work in terms of venue design seems to be coming up there in the near future.”

Samantha Cotterell: “Yes, we would welcome, and will indeed pursue, work in Italy. I was brought up in Italy and am bilingual – It would be a home coming and an honour to be able to take my experience back ‘home’’.”

Coliseum: “How could you help a big architectural office which is working, for example, in Italy?”

Samantha Cotterell: “When we work with large architecture firms we usually  act as event consultants bringing event operations and sport specific knowhow to inform the architect’s designs.”

Coliseum: “How you would describe the future trend of your work, sporting event design?”

Samantha Cotterell: “The profession has a very long way to go! There are so many unexplored areas and so much room for improvement. I do not want to give away any secrets – but DS has a plan!”

Coliseum: “Samantha, thanks a lot for the interview and good luck to DS!.”

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