Academic | UC Berkeley, instructor Prof. C. Greig Crysler, 2015

We are living in a world increasingly flattened by social media and saturated with images. Information can be easily manipulated into a constructed narrative. On the surface, Abu Dhabi, with its name meaning “happiness”, is known as a luxury retreat covered with clusters of star architects’ work. This 9-square poster responds to the labour exploitation in Abu Dhabi’s that remains largely unseen in mass media. Construction workers, who mostly migrated from underprivileged countries through lucrative agencies, only ended up in cruel working and living conditions, being severely underpaid with no insurance nor employment rights. As several cover-up investigations caused a sensation, a few star architects voiced their opinions. Frank Gehry argued that architects should actively involve in protecting workers’ rights whereas Zaha Hadid stated it was the government’s responsibility to oversee and regulate, as architects have no power over it. This poster not only reflects on the consumption of images and brands in our society, but also questions the role and ethics of architects.

© 2022 Daisy Ziyan Zhang