Zaha in Baghdad? Not.

Winning design proposed for new Iraqi parliament.

Winning design proposed for new Iraqi parliament.

Second-place design for proposed Iraqi parliament.

Second-place design for proposed Iraqi parliament.

Zaha Hadid’s come from behind victory in the international competition to design the next Iraqi parliament building probably also wins the prize for projects not likely to happen. Zaha somehow received the contract although Assemblage, of the U.K., won for what seems to me a much nicer building – a circular design with syncopated fenestration that I can almost feel myself liking. The second place finisher’s Capita Symonds design looks almost like something by Zaha. Hadid’s design is for some reason still secret – that may have something to do with the famous corruption under the soon to be ex-Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki. Next stop, the capital of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or whatever it’s called. Its parliament, or whatever it might actually be (a huge mosque?), could easily be called Decapita House, and who better to design it than one of the two firms edged out under Maliki’s highly transparent deliberative selection process!

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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3 Responses to Zaha in Baghdad? Not.

  1. Rick says:

    Can’t say I’d travel 25 miles to see either of those. One does indeed look like an auto air filter; the other looks like a Dali-esque version of the much nice (as I remember it) “egg” in Albany. Who made the decision? And were the other designs available?


  2. It does, and the other looks like a main battle tank from WWI. I’d rather have the air filter to transact my nation’s business in than the tank, however. I take it as part of my mission to comfort the beautiful and afflict the ugly. Occasionally I find something so low on the ugliness totem pole that I want to comfort it. Perhaps this air filter is one such. My comparatively tender feeling toward this piece of modernism is, admittedly, a source of confusion, which I must keep an eye on.


  3. Nir Buras says:

    looks like an automobile air filter.


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