Zaha Hadid’s unfortunate comments in response to worker deaths on construction sites for the 2022 World Cup has made Qatar the eye of a storm that has been raging globally for decades. But it’s not just about Qatar. This has been an issue for as long as there have been construction sites and for as long as poor people have swarmed to them for a chance at a better life.
Construction booms and migrant construction workers have always been two sides of the same equation, both dependent on the other, and, by the twisted logic of the global economy, both are the reason for the other’s existence. No migrant labor pool = no global city = no fantastic architecture, or something to this effect.
The migrant workers are the silent collaborators in global architecture, the invisible, faceless, “untouchables” who make the cost-effective construction of these buildings possible.
When The Guardian recently asked Zaha Hadid about the 500 Indians and 382 Nepalese migrant workers who have reportedly died in preparations for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the architect behind the al-Wakrah stadium responded:
“I have nothing to do with the workers. I think that’s an issue the government – if there’s a problem – should pick up. Hopefully, these things will be resolved.”
Asked whether she was concerned, she then added:
“Yes, but I’m more concerned about the deaths in Iraq as well, so what do I do about that? I’m not taking it lightly but I think it’s for the government to look to take care of. It’s not my duty as an architect to look at it. I cannot do anything about it because I have no power to do anything about it. I think it’s a problem anywhere in the world. But, as I said, I think there are discrepancies all over the world.”
Do you think it’s an architect’s duty to concern him/herself with the rights of the construction workers building their designs? Let us know in the comments below.
Located in Doha, Sharq Crossing is a set of three interconnected bridges spanning almost ten kilometres in the Doha Bay. Designed by the famed architect Santiago Calatrava, the bridge will connect the city’s cultural district in the north to Hamad International Airport and the central business district in West Bay. The bridges, which are designed to accomodate as many as 2,000 vehicles an hour per lane, are also flanked by a series of subsea tunnels to manage and direct the flow of traffic across the bay.
Four teams of architects have “worked intensively to develop contextual design responses to address the challenge of regenerating and maintaining the heritage of the city” as part of a British-Qatari collaborative project to “reimagine the urban landscape of old Doha.” As a city defined by its strong heritage, coupled with ambitious plans for the future, the competition aimed to discover ways of regenerating parts of the city centre in a sustainable, yet vibrant, way.
In response to the mounting criticism of Qatar’s ability to host the 2022 World Cup, the “tiny Gulf Arab state” is considering developing floating hotels, luxury villas and a water park off the coast of Doha called Oryx Island to house the influx of visitors that will need accommodation during the games. As stated by the WSJ, the island would be developed by Barwa Real Estate Co, a local firm partly-owned by the government, at a cost of $5.5 million.
Zaha Hadid Architects have been selected to work alongside AECOM for the design and construction the Al Wakrah Stadium and Precinct of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. The 45,000-seat stadium will be nestled within a rich cultural fabric of traditional Islamic architecture, historical buildings, distinctive mosques and archeological sites that belongs to one of the oldest inhabited areas of Qatar, just south of Doha. As noted by the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, embracing the identify of this cultural heritage will be a crucial part to the success of the stadium.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser has announced the launch of the Qatar National Library (QNL), to be designed by Rem Koolhaas of OMA.
The QNL, a public access library, will symbolically connect the country’s past and future. As her highness explained: “The library’s vision of bridging with knowledge Qatar’s heritage and future demonstrates the significant role QNL will play in unlocking human potential as Qatar builds a knowledge-based economy. A modern dynamic National Library for the country is essential in reaching this goal.”
As such, Rem Koolhass – an architect known both for his iconic structures as well as his success with the Seattle Public Library - has been hand-picked for the important design, soon to be, according to the QNL website, ”one of the most [...] iconic landmarks in Qatar and the region.” As a library on the cutting-edge of digital archiving, the building will require innovative facilities (including over 300 public computers, wifi and multi-media production studios); however, it will also serve the community as a relaxed, social gathering place.
More images of OMA’s plans for the Qatar National Library, after the break….
Designed by AVP Arhitekti + Sangrad, the intention for the World Football Museum ‘Crystal Ball’ is to reaffirm Qatar’s worldwide position through a landmark to become a symbol of future architectural design. As a standard within the sustainability and energy renewable field, they take advantage of the natural resources and latest technology in structural design, façade materials and functionality of the whole development. This results in low energy consumption and aims for a zero-carbon emission solution. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The New York office of top international architecture and design firm Perkins Eastman shared with us their design for the Lekhwiya Sports Complex—a mixed-use sports venue that will be the home stadium for Qatar’s premier football team, Lekhwiya Club. The 19,529 sm (210,210 sf) complex also will be used as a training site and home base for a guest team participating in the 2022 World Cup. More architects’ description after the break.
There’s still a long road to FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, but the design and construction of the 12 stadiums has already started. We will be featuring as many as we can, for you to see how will future stadiums look like. To start, sports architecture experts, Populous, shared with us their design for the Sports City Stadium, located along the Persian Gulf in the eastern coastal city of Doha. More images and complete architect’s description after the break.
Yesterday, FIFA announced the nations that will host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup™. Russia will be hosting the most important soccer event in the world in 2018 and Qatar will do so four years later. We’ve already featured Erick van Egeraat & Mikhail Posokhin’s VTB Arena for Russia. Now, we want to share with you this video showing five stadiums for Qatar 2022. Enjoy it!