Zaha Hadid has won the scheme to design a new parliament complex in Iraq – despite coming third in the original RIBA-run international competition. — BD Online UK
The news is also the first official statement that Assemblage, whose designs won the competition, will not get to realize their vision. This will be the second building Hadid will design in her native country after the 2012 announcement that she will helm the Central Bank of Iraq project.
Hadid's plans for the Iraq Parliament have been marred by controversy, chiefly because they have been kept secret from Iraqi architects and the architectural community at large. Those who have seen the designs have not been favorable in their comments.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Baghdad – probably the most significant architectural project in the city since the 2003 invasion – is under threat from the Isis insurgency surging through the city. The precarious condition of the city makes it hard to imagine that Hadid's ambitious designs will come to fruition anytime soon. More pointedly, it calls into question the need for such expensive architecture in places of near constant social upheaval, particularly by an architect who is so adamant about refusing any responsibility for the conditions of those who actually make her buildings.