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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Architects float monument concept for Qatar’s fallen World Cup workers

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 All images from 1week1project

Two international architects have proposed a new “fantasy project” that has been drawing some online attention – a concrete monolith that would honor the construction workers who died while building Qatar’s 2022 World Cup stadiums.

Dubbed the Qatar World Cup Memorial, the structure would be located outside of the capital. It would be scalable and is designed around the concept of concrete blocks, each representing a deceased person, that could be built up to resemble a Jenga-like tower.

French-Chilean architects Alex de Stampa and Sylvain Macaux drafted the designs as part of their exercise 1week1project, in which they challenged themselves to come up with 52 new concepts over the course of a year.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

While the project will likely never come to fruition, it serves to highlight concerns about the safety of the thousands of workers who will build Qatar’s stadiums, and is a way to honor those who may die in the process.

The proposal comes at a time of heightened attention locally and globally on the rights and conditions of Qatar’s low-income expats.

The inspiration for the designs may have come from some international media reports stating that large numbers of people have already died working on World Cup-related projects here.

However, construction has just begun in the last few months on the only specific World Cup projects that Qatar is looking at – its stadiums.

Still, it’s true that collectively, thousands of expats have died in Qatar over the past couple of years, many of them relatively young construction workers, according to embassy reports.

But given the country’s expat-majority demographic, officials here have argued that many of these deaths are likely not related to poor working or living conditions.

Design idea

De Stampa and Macaux’s concept for the memorial is based on a design of four modules per floor, with two staircases rising up along opposite ends of each block, which would allow relatives and visitors to move around the structure and explore it in different ways.

1week1project team.
1week1project team.

A crane would sit atop the building, adding modules until the World Cup opens.

Describing their idea on their website, the architects say:

“The Qatar World Cup Memorial project is a scalable building that raises awareness about the number of workers who died during the construction of the stadiums for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It is in the form of a tower made of concrete modules, each one representing a deceased worker. The higher the number, the higher the tower.

This structure offers Nepalese and Indian families as well as families of other nationalities a site for mourning removed from Qatar’s cities and skyscrapers.”

World focus

Since Qatar won hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup four years ago, it has come under intense scrutiny from global media and human rights organizations about the treatment of its hundreds of thousands of migrants workers.

In response, some organizations, including the Supreme Commitee for Delivery & Legacy (SCDL) – the body responsible for implementing plans for the World Cup, and Qatar Foundation have introduced a number of initiatives, including a Workers’ Charter.

The document outlines basic working and living conditions that must be provided for all their construction staff, and all contractors are required to adhere to it.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, the government announced a number of reforms to its Labor Law, and thus Qatar’s restrictive kafala (sponsorship) system, including provisions requiring companies to pay workers’ wages directly into their bank accounts to avoid late payments or non-payment, and to make it easier for expats to switch jobs and leave the country.

The revisions to the law were expected to be discussed by Qatar’s Advisory (Shura) Council when it met last month. However no firm date has been given for when the changes will be implemented.

Labor and Social Affairs Minister Dr. Abdullah Saleh Mubarak Al Khulaifi has been quoted in local media as saying the changes could take place late this year, or early next year.

Thoughts?

22 COMMENTS

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disqus-eyrhws
disqus-eyrhws
6 years ago

This project should’t have been published. As covered by several other reliable architectural websites, it is clearly a plagiarised concept ( http://michaelhara.com/another-brick-in-the-wall ). “If you look at the projects ideas they are identical. The aforementioned project marks the death of every soldier with a brick module, much like this one. Both have cranes in the middle that support the perpetual construction. Look at the diagrams – they are a direct rip off.” And as you mentioned the figures used by the ‘architects’ are not from a reputable source. Publicity shouldn’t be given to people who are clearly falsifying and dramatising real issues in an effort to promote themselves.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Hahahahahahaha if this is true it is one of the most disgusting things I have ever read. Architects trying to make money out of the poor dead.

Qatar should never entertain this idea anyway, it’s like saying we give up,on trying to save lives and there are acceptable losses. This is not war, it’s a building project, no ones life is worth sacrificing for a vanity project.

Sunshine
Sunshine
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I think they’re probably trying to make a point about the treatment of the migrant workers, along with Qatar’s Health and Safety record.

DJ25Q
DJ25Q
6 years ago
Reply to  Sunshine

I’d rather use that funding for worker’s protection and well being, and increasing safety measures to reduce their tragic death

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago

after that they will want to build a monument to the people who died building their monument and so on, its really brilliant business plan

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Lol

Anon
Anon
6 years ago

NOBODY died during construction for the London 2012 Olympics. Just saying.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Anon

That’s just a racist comment. Obviously British Newspapers covered up all those deaths of foreign Qatari workers.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  Anon

Not true unfortunately…………http://www.demotix.com/news/314363/memorial-workers-killed-olympic-construction-project. I didnt know either, but did a quick google. Nothing to compare of course, but almost all sites of that magnitude have some casualties.

Anon
Anon
6 years ago
Reply to  SokhnaFan2010

Well spotted…thanks for pointing that out

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

Thousands ???? Really Dohanews?? This concept was first introduced on archdaily.com, where several architects attacked it as plagrised .., interestingly enough I encourage the folks to read the post in that site…

Coco
Coco
6 years ago

If it was meant as awareness raising they failed.
If it was meant to be sarcastic that’s just cruel and inconsiderate.
If it was meant as an actual proposal they should just give up on life.
Dohanews…really? You would’ve been better off covering the Abu Dhabi teacher stabbing.
Some things are best left unreported…this is in such poor taste all around.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Coco

Don’t hold Dohanews to a high standard .. Google alert reporting at its finest

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

Had to look at the calendar before I could read on. “Is a way to honour those who may die in the process” – did I actually read that? It would be a fitting monument to Qatars’ inability to protect the lives of it’s migrant workers How on earth did two idiots come up with this and how on earth did it ever get into DN?

I am not a slave, I got pride
I am not a slave, I got pride
6 years ago

I been to USA, Singapore, UK, UAE, India, Hong kong and Qatar. In all sense Qatar the worst and pathetic. You will never change. A disgrace to humanity.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

I dare not comment in case Saleem goes of his nut again, I’m really worried about his mental health.

Don
Don
6 years ago

Wonder if any workers died making this…

yesjay
yesjay
6 years ago

It would have been a never ending project unless they decided to stop it by 2022, probably which would break the record height of Burj Khalifa

Peter Parker
Peter Parker
6 years ago
Reply to  yesjay

What do you mean ‘probably’?

disqus_21uQ1hXhE0
disqus_21uQ1hXhE0
6 years ago

A ridiculous project. It’s insulting they use a real problem to gain notoriety for themselves.

Jr Derha
Jr Derha
6 years ago

more than art works etc… better govt to fix the issues on workers.

Mr. Q (a.k.a. amnesia)

I think that this article should at least be balanced by sharing more on improvements, the fact that articles staring 1,000 people died working on World Cup projects is incorrect, and that the country cares.

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