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Zaha Hadid: One of Iraq’s greatest citizens

Hadid became the most renowned architect in the British capital, although she broke the rules of design and art

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

Zaha Hadid, who passed away this week, left Iraq in the early 1970s due to the increasing control of the Baath Party. She studied in Beirut and worked in London.

She became the most renowned architect in the British capital, although she broke the rules of design and art. She was made a dame by Queen Elizabeth II, in recognition of her achievements. Hadid is one of the most famous architects in the world, with 1,000 projects in 40 countries.

Worldwide presence

She did not take part in politics, although her father was a minister and member of a party in Iraq in the 1950s. She was creating buildings around the world at a time when her country was being destroyed.

In the United States, she designed the Rosenthal Museum, which is described as the most beautifully built museum since the end of the Cold War. Her works are spread throughout China.

She was creating buildings around the world at a time when her country was being destroyed

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

In Riyadh, on the road from the airport, she designed the Center for Petroleum Studies and Research, a unique building with sharp angles. Hadid designed another building that is supposed to be inaugurated with one of the promised metro stations. In Abu Dhabi, capital of modern Arab architecture, she designed two buildings.

In Qatar, she designed the main stadium that will host the 2022 World Cup. It is an architectural masterpiece that caused controversy when media outlets claimed that thousands of workers were killed during its construction, when construction had not even begun.

I do not know what happened to her project to build the parliament headquarters in Baghdad, which was announced three years ago. Was it the victim of political chaos or scarce oil revenues? If completed, it would have shown Iraq’s gratitude toward one of its greatest citizens.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on April 02, 2016.
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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.