Hill+Knowlton Strategies 10 Dec 2014 // 7:19PM GMT
On first glance, this may look like just another building under construction. But it’s not a building. It’s a monument – or at least that’s the plan.
Architecture collective 1Week1Project wants to create the structure as a bleak memorial to almost 1,000 migrant workers who have lost their lives on construction projects for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
When Liverpool’s legendary manager Bill Shankly famously said that football was more important than life or death you can be pretty sure he didn’t have this in mind. Shankly was a man who knew about the perils of the workplace – he grew up in the Ayrshire coal-mining village of Glenbuck and spent two years working down the mines himself.
According to business magazine Fast Company, the 1Week1Project proposal features “a towering structure made of giant stones, one for each dead Nepalese worker, who make up 400 of the approximately 1,000 deaths. A crane would be perched atop the massive structure, ready to add more stones as more workers die. If the death rate continues to climb as predicted, the hypothetical tower could rise almost a mile in the sky, far taller than any of the skyscrapers in the region.”
Will it happen? Almost certainly not (can you imagine the planning permission conversation?) Will it raise awareness of an issue that can surely no longer be buried? Yes it will. And that’s the point.
You have to applaud 1Week1Project for their ambition but as football fans don’t we have a responsibility to do something about this horrible state of affairs? Or at the very least try. Would we be so apathetic if this was happening on our doorstep? Why is it any different in a +4 hour time zone?
For all of its ills – and there are many – when the so-called UK football family come together we can achieve incredible things. Think Kick It Out, or the ongoing search for justice for Hillsborough, or the overwhelming displays of public support for stricken heroes Fabrice Muamba and Stilian Petrov. It’s a global game with global thrills and global challenges so maybe it’s time for us to look beyond our own backyard – if the 1Week1Project idea wakes a few of us up then that’s got to be a good thing.