Zaha Hadid Architects’ design for a waterfront headquarters for the Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) on the Tigris River in Baghdad has moved forward following an official ceremony this week. Hosted by H. E. Dr. Muhielddin Hussein Abdullah, Charges d’Affaires of the Iraqi Embassy in London, the event saw Hadid sign an agreement for the design stages of the significant commercial scheme.
Hadid confessed: “I am deeply touched that I have been asked to design the new headquarters for the Central Bank of Iraq. I was born in Iraq and I still feel very close to it. I feel very privileged to be working in Iraq on a design of such national importance.” The celebrated architect was commissioned in 2010 by the CBI for the scheme and has now completed the Brief Development; the design process will begin imminently.
This will be Hadid’s first building project in her native Iraq however she is also shortlisted to conceptualise a $1bn Iraqi Parliament building in Baghdad. The official shortlist is yet to be released but rumoured to be fighting for the project are: Assemblage with Buro Happold and Davis Langdon; Al-Khan with Adamson; and Dewan Architects & Engineers. The site of the Iraqi Parliament building is that of Saddam Hussein’s failed mosque project, currently littered with discarded reinforced concrete pillars.
Few details are known about Hadid’s ideas for the CBI Headquarters yet Dr. Sinan Al-Shabibi has explained: “The new building shall be a symbol of the Bank’s role in the economic development of Iraq and a reflection of the determination to rebuild the country.” Working on the project with Hadid will be: Adams Kara Taylor, Max Fordham, Newtecnic, DEGW, Gross Max, Davis Langdon, Arup, Warringtonfire, Winton Nightingale, and A2 Project Managers.