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Zaha Hadid

Preventing migrant deaths at Qatar stadium site "not my duty as an architect" says Zaha Hadid

News: architects have "nothing to do with the workers" who have died on construction sites in Qatar, according to Zaha Hadid, whose Al Wakrah stadium for the FIFA World Cup 2022 is under construction in the gulf state.

Over 500 Indian migrants and 382 Nepalese nationals have died in the country since it won the right to host the football tournament, according to an investigation into conditions in the Qatari construction industry by British newspaper The Guardian, prompting an outcry from human rights groups across the world.

"It's not my duty as an architect to look at it," Hadid said yesterday at the reopening for her Olympic aquatics centre in London. "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."

Hadid's Al Wakrah stadium is one of five new venues under construction for the tournament but the architect says it is the responsibility of the Qatari government not architects to address issues relating to worker deaths.

"I have nothing to do with the workers," she said. "I think that's an issue the government - if there's a problem - should pick up. Hopefully, these things will be resolved."

Qatar 2022 World Cup Zaha Hadid
Al Wakrah stadium by Zaha Hadid

Asked if she was concerned about the deaths, Hadid commented: "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."

The 40,000-seat stadium is currently under construction in Al Wakrah. Its curvaceous form was based on a type of Arabian fishing boat, but the design came under fire shortly after release when critics compared it to a vagina.

Other well-known architects have previously spoken out over conditions for workers in foreign nations. Richard Rogers says that "architects have a responsibility to society", while Daniel Libeskind called on architects to consider whether their projects are "legitimate".