John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Each building stone represents one deceased Nepalese migrant worker.
Construction accidents, heat stroke, disease spread by lousy living conditions—these are the things that have killed more than 1,000 migrant workers preparing for Qatar's 2022 World Cup. And with the oil-rich country making little headway with safety reforms, experts forecast the death toll could swell to 4,000 by the time the first soccerball hits the field.
Should all this human destruction go unhonored? The folks at the French/Chilean experimental-architecture concern 1Week1Project think not. They've drafted designs for one of the most gloomy and least-subtle memorials possible: a towering citadel in the middle of the killing desert, made from huge stones that each represent one lost Nepalese worker. (About half of Qatar's World Cup labor force hails from Nepal and India.)
Because more deaths are expected, the lonesome monolith would have a crane on top that could keep stacking body-blocks like a depressing Jenga pillar. In this way, the memorial could eventually tower over Qatar's legion of skyscrapers. Write the architects:
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. The project has a multitude of itineraries for visiting, on a basis of four modules per floor and two staircases per module. The cranes remain positioned in altitude until 2022.
If the death rate is not reduced, the Qatar World Cup Memorial could reach a height of 1.5 kilometers (nearly a mile).
Like 1Week1Project's proposal to convert Brazil's World Cup stadiums into affordable housing, this idea will come to fruition when pigs fly loop-de-loops through the stratosphere. But as a bittersweet response to a terrible real-world situation, it stands on its own: