Is Zaha Hadid Good for Architecture?

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Zaha Hadid: It's Tough Being an Arab Woman in the Architecture Business

In the world of starchitects, Zaha Hadid has few equals. Her photogenic creations have propelled her to the forefront of the pack of “global” architects, and also caused consternation among people who would appreciate a more “traditional” approach to architecture.

According to architecture critic Stephen Bayley, writing in The Spectator, Zaha Hadid “has added much to the formal language of global architecture, but not to its good sense,” and as such, he feels architecture would be better off without Hadid. To support his contention, he offers a couple of her well-known projects, such as the 2022 World Cup Stadium in Qatar, and the 2012 Olympics Aquatics Centre in London. Both projects have been criticised for their grandiose, futuristic designs, as well as their bloated costs.

“She became the champion of an architecture that was more about personal ‘vision’ than public utility,” Bayley wrote.

Contemporary, high-profile architecture is often lambasted for ignoring context and creating visually captivating works of art that don’t really function properly and end up massively over budget. To many, Hadid is the poster child for this camp. []

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