Photos: Zaha Hadid Architects
Zaha Hadid’s Al Wakrah Stadium is making headlines once again — yet this time, it isn’t over the future World Cup venue’s (not-so-subtle) resemblance to the more intimate parts of the female anatomy.
In a recent piece published in the New York Review of Books, critic Martin Filler harshly criticized the stadium as a symbol of Hadid’s apparent apathy to the plight of migrant labourers in Qatar.
Filler dug deep into the Pritzker Prize-winning architect, writing “She has unashamedly disavowed any responsibility, let alone concern, for the estimated one thousand laborers who have perished while constructing her project thus far.” Filler’s article cites an earlier statement Hadid made to the press, where she claimed “I have nothing to do with the workers. ‘It is not my duty as an architect to look at it.”
However, construction on Al Wakrah Stadium has yet to begin and is only expected commence in 2015. Essentially proving Filler’s claims, which isolate Al Wakrah Stadium, largely erroneous. Hadid has since taken steps to sue the publication for defamation.
Hoping to appease Hadid, Filler issued a formal apology, stating “There have been no worker deaths on the Al Wakrah project and Ms. Hadid’s comments about Qatar that I quoted in the review had nothing to do with the Al Wakrah site or any of her projects. I regret the error.”
The apology came just days after the Iraqi-born architect filed a complaint with the New York State Supreme Court.
Filler has found himself in hot water for making errors in his articles before. Two years ago, the writer was forced to make corrections to a piece on Rem Koolhaas after gathering false information cited from Wikipedia.
As of late, Hadid has also been embroiled in several controversies, one of which included her role in designing the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Azerbaijan. Many critics denounced Hadid for taking on the project, which is named in homage of the country’s former authoritarian leader Heydar Aliyev.
After recently winning Design of the Year by London’s Design Museum, more light was shed on the building’s shoddy human rights record and reported abuses of migrant labourers.
“It would be really helpful if a well-known figure like Dame Zaha Hadid could raise these issues while working in the country,” said Rebecca Vincent, a leading figure in Azerbaijani human rights activism.