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Zaha Hadid to Design New Iraqi Central Bank After June Attack

Zaha Hadid
Architect Zaha Hadid. Hadid has been appointed to design a new headquarters for the central bank in Baghdad, two months after an assault on the existing building left at least 15 people dead. Photographer: Graham Barclay/Bloomberg

Aug. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Architect Zaha Hadid has been appointed to design a new headquarters for the central bank in Baghdad, two months after an assault on the existing building left at least 15 people dead.

Baghdad-born Hadid, 59, was approached by the Iraqi authorities earlier this year, before the attack, said Roger Howie, a spokesman for Zaha Hadid Architects. Initial talks about the project were held in Istanbul on Aug. 14 in the presence of Central Bank Governor Sinan Al-Shabibi, he said.

Her practice has now been asked for “a feasibility study, brief development and concept design,” a statement from Zaha Hadid Architects said.

Hadid, who in 2004 became the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, was born and raised in Baghdad. Her father was a U.K.-educated industrialist who served briefly as minister of finance and industry before managing a series of household-goods factories.

The architect last visited Iraq in 1980, and has been based in the U.K. since the early 1970s. She is a nominee for the 2010 RIBA Stirling Prize, the profession’s highest U.K. distinction, for her MAXXI contemporary-art museum in Rome; the prize will be awarded on Oct. 2.

The Iraqi central-bank building was attacked on June 13 by suicide bombers and gunmen in military uniform, just as staff members were leaving work. The bombers blew themselves up while gunmen clashed for hours with bank security. Al-Qaeda’s Iraqi branch, the Islamic State of Iraq, later claimed responsibility.

To contact the writer on the story: Farah Nayeri in London at farahn@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net.

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