Zaha Hadid Tapped for Baghdad Bank Building
Though U.K.-based Architect Zaha Hadid was born in Baghdad, she has never before received a commission to work there — or anywhere in Iraq, for that matter. But that is no longer the case. Authorities at Baghdad's Central Bank have confirmed that the award-winning architect has been picked to design a new headquarters for the institution. Hadid’s new design will replace the bank’s previous home, a marble-clad concrete structure that was attacked by suicide bombers and gunmen on June 13, killing 14 people and injuring well over 50.
Plans for the project began — as Hadid’s spokesperson was quick to inform Bloomberg — several weeks before the attack. Officials have called on her to submit "a feasibility study, brief development, and concept design" for further perusal. Hadid's design plans have not yet been released, though reports say that it will include a formidable array of security and defense features aimed at minimizing the damage in the event of another terrorist attack.
In recent years, Hadid’s designs have gained a steady stream of accolades. In 2004, she was the first female to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and she is currently a nominee for the 2010 RIBA Stirling Prize — the most prestigious distinction for British architects. Her MAXXI contemporary-art museum in Rome, which earned her the Stirling nod, has also won largely favorable reviews since it opened officially earlier this year.
While most of her designs have been built in only the past few years, Hadid has long been praised by architecture theorists for her innovative ideas, and a 2006 Guggenheim retrospective helped solidify her reputation as one of today's leading architects. Hadid's spokesperson told press that the notoriously outspoken architect hopes that the new bank becomes a "symbol of the new nation."