Zaha Hadid and her designs have always been a subject of debate often drawing criticism from fellow professionals. But this time the controversy has gone little too far and also little too low, meaning below the belt, literally.
At the centre of controversy is the design of Al-Wakrah stadium, a proposed football stadium in Al-Wakrah, Qatar, which will be one of the venues for 2022 FIFA World Cup. According to critics, the shape of the stadium resembles female genitalia. However, Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid had shot down the criticism saying that her design resembles female private parts in one of her interviews in the past. According to the architect, design is inspired by the Qatari traditional dhow boat. According to the designers it was inspired by the sails of traditional Dhow boats, used by pearl divers from the region, weaving through currents of the Persian Gulf. But the controversy keeps on erupting every now and then and refuses to die down.
The design for Al-Wakrah’s new stadium was assigned to AECOM and Zaha Hadid in June 2013 for which first renderings were made in November, 2013. Though initially it was planned to be completed in one year, project prolonged beyond the schedule due to solid rock-base.
The sports complex includes a multipurpose room, with swimming pools and spas and a shopping center with green roofs. The entrance to the stadium will be on a wooded square. The stadium is to ensure comfortable temperatures to fans with shade, aerodynamics and mechanical ventilation systems used to minimise the impact of heat.
Around the stadium a vast 585,000 public space is planned with two training fields cooled to 26 degrees, two indoor halls, four tennis courts and two basketball pitches, among other sporting infrastructure. Also, a 10,000-sq.m retail complex and a four-star 150-room hotel are planned.