Starchitect status has a way of shooting you to the top of everyone's list, which could be why Zaha Hadid's proposal for the Iraqi Parliament building was chosen despite only placing third in the competition. Though details of the design have yet to be released, we do know what the winning bid by London-based firm Assemblage would have done with the site, currently home to a cluster of towering 50-meter-tall cement columns—the remnants of a mega-mosque planned by Saddam Hussein until construction was halted by the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
In an attempt to ruffle as few feathers as possible, the Royal Institute of British Architects, which led the competition, pointed to the fact that the Iraqi government reserved the right to ultimately select any of the shortlisted designs. When rumors started circulating back in January that Baghdad was in talks with Zaha Hadid, Assemblage director Peter Besley had a few choice words about the situation, and Hadid's design in particular, telling Dezeen that "the industry is all too familiar with the failure of the fashionable icon building which is supposed to bring fame to a city and instead brings a cost and functional nightmare, and a rapidly dating aesthetic. Some in the client body know this, some do not, and it's something they need resolve internally."
Resolve it internally they have, and soon the $1B development of the Iraqi Parliament Building will join the Baghdad Central Bank, and as rumor has it, the Iraq National Museum in upcoming Hadid-designed projects in the city, where the architect happened to have been born. Meanwhile, her signature sinuous aesthetic continues to descend upon everything from gallery buildings to dollhouses to yes, even superyachts.
· Zaha Hadid Chosen to Design Iraqi Parliament Building in Baghdad [Arch Daily]
· All Zaha Hadid coverage [Curbed National]