Zaha Hadid has been selected to design the new Iraqi Parliament building in Baghdad. The controversial decision comes after London-based Assemblage was crowned as winner of a RIBA-led competition for the building, which place Hadid’s proposal third. Though a dispute began once the competition’s client sparked conversations with Hadid after the winning firm was named, the client stated that competition rules allow for any shortlisted design proposal to be ultimately chosen for construction.
Former RIBA president and competition jury member Sunand Prasad backed the client’s claim, stating: “Obviously we selected a winner, therefore we would like to have seen it [built] but the client reserved the right to pick any of the top three and they have gone ahead and done that.”
The £630 million building will be built on a 20 hectare site in West Baghdad, which was originally used by Saddam Hussein to partially construct a super mosque. Situated in the heart of the city, the Iraqi government hopes the new building will be a “more potent symbol of the new Iraq.” Details of the design have yet to be released.
Hadid’s practice has already received a contract in the Iraqi capital back in 2010 for the Central Bank headquarters and, as the Architect’s Journal, is rumored to be involved with the new Iraq National Museum.
Though no official announcement of Hadid’s involvement has been released by the Iraq government, Hadid has reportedly already begun to work on the design.
Reference: The Architect's Journal