Zaha Hadid Defends Qatar Stadium from Critics

  • 26 Nov 2013
  • by
  • Architecture News mini
Courtesy of ZHA

In an exclusive interview with TIME, has finally responded to the claims – voiced most notably by Jon Stewart - that her design for the Al Wakrah Stadium (what will be Qatar’s stadium for the 2022 World Cup) resembles female genitalia (Stewart in fact called Hadid the “Georgia O’Keeffe of things you can walk inside“).

“It’s really embarrassing that they come up with nonsense like this. What are they saying? Everything with a hole in it is a vagina? That’s ridiculous.” Hadid also goes on to suggest that “if a guy had done this project,” these “lewd” comparisons would not have been made. Read the full story at

Cite: Quirk, Vanessa. "Zaha Hadid Defends Qatar Stadium from Critics" 26 Nov 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • klok


  • HR

    The building is really beautiful but lets be honest, this building is no more reminiscent of a dhow than any other building her team has designed.

  • jon bowles

    The degrading comment depicts jealousy. Zahah is the worlds greatest architect in my eyes. she should given as much opportunity to express her creativity as she needs.

  • Gertrude

    I can’t believe she gratified it with a response, but more so that she can’t see it. I suppose it shows the arbitary nature of this kind of architecture. Not that it matters, vast majority of the users wont be arriving by helicopter… oh wait its in Qatar? scrap that.

  • Abdullah Gemei

    Can’t believe how criticism has greatly degraded these days.

    • asd

      Can’t believe how architecture has greatly degraded these days.

  • Chris A.

    Watch the daily show skit on the building, they don’t even mention the architect is a woman until after everyone starts laughing. It’s bloody obvious

  • Peter

    What’s wrong with comparing art with anatomy? There is a clear resemblance.

  • Pat Chan

    Hey, rather that than a pair of balls.

  • Mazi Javidiani

    But it DOES look like a vagina! and I think it’s great that it does.

  • Alex G

    Yes it can look like a vagina, so what? What is the buzz for?

  • Ted

    Honestly, the arguments that male designed buildings are predominantly phallic go back decades. The lay person sees what architects don’t see all the time and people regularly give objects and buildings anthropomorpic qualities, its what we as humans do all the time, and frankly, it does look like what everybody say it looks like. Does it make it any less beautiful a form, no. Will the form open the building up to jokes and criticisim, inevitably it does, but so does a lot of Zahas and other architects work, I mean take a look at the adds run for the Gerkin for erectile dysfunction:

    Its inevitable, and not at all degrading, its a beautiful building. Its a high profile project, and she should have known what to expect, because I’m sure there were jokes made in that office. As far as I’m concerned, Architects (me included) need to get off their high horse and take a joke every once in a while.

  • snarkitect

    it does look like lady bits. that’s okay it’s still awesome (maybe even more awesome). male architects have all of their towers called phalluses, so there’s really no reason to get all upset over the comparison. it’s just a cheap shot by jealous people… or a light-humored observation that doesn’t contain any malice. I hope it’s built!

  • cmsyr

    cant believe how everyone turns into little fan girls when it comes to zaha hadid

  • HY

    I wouldn’t even bothered to respond to the comment. A joke is meant to stay there.

  • queenB

    My first reaction to the image is that it was a modern take of the “all seeing eye” or the one that wards off evil. Jon Stewart clearly has retarded perception and only has his mind in the gutter.

  • Ilya Bourim

    It only looks like vagina from above. Most people will never experience it that way.

  • orkado

    Whew! That’s a relief. I held my breath when clicking this link that I might find that architects had somehow found a sense of humor. Thankfully it appears that everything is business as usual. Back to wearing black.

  • Andrew

    It doesn’t matter what this lady architect want to say about her design; it is what we (the users) see in it

  • Alain Farivar

    I personally take everything Jon Stewart says seriously…especially in matters of architecture.

  • Alain Farivar

    ArchDaily is like Facebook…there is only a button for ´Like´, none for ´Dislike´…amazing in this free society of our!

  • Rafgh

    no more female genitalia than most skyscrapers, including Eiffel tower, look like male attributes, no less either

  • damnasd1

    Hm, I think it looks to futuristic for a stadium. Althouh if you would turn it and look at it from up, it would look like a vagina.

  • Cdc

    Male architects are accused almost on a daily basis to make giant dildos…so Zaha’s comments are out of place. Also, it does look like a female genitalia, but then, so what?

  • Al

    Well, you can’t deny that it looks like it…
    I find most of Hadid’s works predictable and straight out primitive. This one at least contains some humor.

  • Arrarra

    Don’t get me wrong, it looks nice, but still reminiscent of a vagina. And if Zaha can’t notice it then well.

  • Bo

    Attacking people who critises just reveals that the narrative of the design isn’t strong enough.

  • kasiyarchi

    @mr stewartk dude u such a perv!…I see an eye, nd the muscles of the eye lids :)

  • Alejandro

    So what if it resembles a vagina? there are more than enough examples of phallic buldings around the world that don’t wake this giant wave of criticism.

  • Reini04

    Its not the hole .. dear Zaha .. we are talking about the lips

  • Jo Schmo

    Well if you look at it that way, 80% of other buildings are a phallic object, so at least she’s evened out the playing field a bit!