Daily digest: World Cup migrant worker fatalities, introducing the Huckabee College of Architecture at Texas Tech, and more news

Controversies, Commissions, and Competitions

Daily digest: World Cup migrant worker fatalities, introducing the Huckabee College of Architecture at Texas Tech, and more news

Al Wakrah Stadium Doha, Qatar (Matt Kieffer/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Happy Friday! Design Miami shows and the World Cup have saturated this week’s news, and our editors have rounded up stories and announcements you may have missed. Here’s what you need to know going into this first weekend of December:

Germane Barnes named artistic director of dieDAS in Saaleck, Germany

While this week in Miami architect and artist Germane Barnes’s fluffy and playful seating pods touched down in Miami’s Design District, across the globe in Saaleck, Germany the Miami-based, Chicago-born designer was named artistic director of dieDAS – Design Akademie Saaleck. Barnes will take on the role at dieDAS, an international school and fellowship program for designers, replacing Maurizio Montalti, an Italian designer and the institution’s inaugural artistic director.

Alongside a group of fellows, Barnes, according to a press release, will “use methods of tactical urbanism to spark conversations about race, ethnicity, immigration, displacement, and nationalism” in the region, under the theme “Monumental Affairs.” The work will examine the implications of monument construction and canonization, especially as it relates to issues of race and oppression. This work aligns with Barnes’s previous artistic interests which examine the intersection of the built environment and Black domesticity.

Barnes is no stranger to the international design scene, in addition to the Miami Design District, his work has also been shown at MoMA, LACMA, and the Chicago Architecture Biennial. He is also the recipient of a number of prestigious industry awards including the 2021 Harvard Wheelwright Prize and the 2021 Architectural League Prize.

Texas Tech College of Architecture renamed to Huckabee College of Architecture

Yesterday the College of Architecture at Texas Tech University announced it would be changing its name to Huckabee College of Architecture. The change follows a generous donation—the largest in the college’s history—from Chris and Robin Huckabee in honor of Tommie J. Huckabee, founding principal of Huckabee Architects, who attended college at the Lubbock-based institution beginning in 1954. In the decades since he went on to start an eponymous architecture practice, his own children attended the university, and his son Chris kept his ties with his alma mater, serving on its Board of Regents from 2015–2021 and a chairman from 2019–2021.

This isn’t the Huckabee family’s first donation to the college. In 2022 they started the Timothy Terry Memorial Endowed Scholarship in honor of a deceased friend, colleague, and fellow Texas Tech alumnus. And in 2007 their donation created the Huckabee Student Lounge, formally known as The Corner.

In a statement shared by the university dean and professor Urs Peter “Upe” Flueckiger said: “This very generous donation from the Huckabee family marks an important milestone for our college and Texas Tech University. The first architecture class at Texas Tech was taught in 1927 through the College of Engineering, and by 1986, Architecture was a standalone college. Now in 2022, we are newly named the Huckabee College of Architecture. This gift from the Huckabee family is transformational and will enable students, faculty, staff and friends of the college to reach new heights.”

Just how many migrant workers died while constructing facilities for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?

The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicked off in Qatar just over a week ago and from the start it has been shrouded in a controversy. An interview between British TV celebrity Piers Morgan and Hassan al-Thawadi, the secretary general of the Supreme Committee for delivery and legacy, revealed that an estimated 400 to 500 migrant workers died during the construction of the World Cup venues. This contested figure comes after a 2021 report published in the Guardian, which reported 6,500 migrant workers fatalities between 2011 and 2020. (Qatar won the bid to host the global soccer showcase in 2010, and construction on facilities began in 2011.)

To host the World Cup, Qatar built eight stadiums in addition to 17 non-competition venues across cities throughout the small country.

In response to the troubling news, Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice, said in a statement: “The continued debate around the number of workers who have died in the preparation of the World Cup exposes the stark reality that so many bereaved families are still waiting for truth and justice.

“Over the last decade, thousands of workers have returned home in coffins, with no explanation given to their loved ones. Qatar’s extreme heat and gruelling working conditions are likely to have contributed to hundreds of these deaths, but without full investigations the true scale of lives lost can never be known. Meanwhile, families are suffering the added anguish of severe financial insecurity that comes from losing the main wage earner.”

The Architectural League of New York Prize for Young Architects + Designers announces 2023 theme: Uncomfortable

The Architectural League of New York has announced the theme for the 2023 Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers. Interested applicants have until February 15, 2023 to submit a portfolio and statement on how they would respond to the theme: Uncomfortable.

The annual portfolio competition is open to architects, designers, and studios with less than 10 years of experience outside of an undergraduate or graduate degree program and who live and work in North America.

Open to the interpretation of the designers, the theme asks applicants to consider uncomfortable issues such as climate change and labor practices or anything else that gives them discomfort.

The prize winners, announced in March, will showcase their work in June as part of a series of lectures, media, and an exhibition. Each recipient will also receive a cash award of $2,000.

This year’s jury roster comprises Los Angeles architect Barbara Bestor; Wonne Ickx of Mexican firm Productora; Kyle Miller, architect and professor at Syracuse University; and Tya Winn, Director of Project Planning for Habitat for Humanity in Philadelphia and a professor at Syracuse University.

Last year the six recipients responded to the theme Grounding. Past recipients of the League Prize have included Germane Barnes, New York designer Bryony Roberts, and San Francisco–based firm SAW.

Philadelphia launches design competition to design permanent Harriet Tubman statue

Earlier this year officials in the City of Brotherly Love temporarily installed a statue of the trailblazing abolitionist Harriet Tubman at City Hall to coincide with the 200th anniversary of her birth. Harriet Tubman-The Journey to Freedom was designed by Wesley Wofford and was on show at the municipal building through March 2022.

The public response was resounding and prompted Philadelphia officials to commission Wofford to design a permanent statue of Tubman for the site, but this was ultimately met with disdain from local artists and community members who believed diverse and local artists should have the chance to input their design ideas for the historical work.

This week the city formally announced the open call for artists, and while it is open to anyone the announcement mentions that priority will be given to those who are local and “who reflect the diversity of Philadelphia, and minority and female artists.”

The competition will be executed in two phases during the first phase interested artists submit their qualifications, and have until January 26, 2023 to do so. Following those submissions five artists or artist teams will be selected to submit designs, which will be reviewed by the public. Installation is planned for either 2024 or 2025.

More information on the project and competition can be found here.