Hadid in frame to design Baghdad opera house


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The Independent Online

Stirling prize-winner Zaha Hadid is in the running to build the new opera house in Baghdad, the city of her birth.

It is understood that the Iraqi government has invited a number of architects to design one of the first cultural venues since the overthrow of former dictator Saddam Hussein.

Baghdad has been an architectural playground in the past: Frank Lloyd Wright, the American architect designed much of Iraq's capital in the 1950s.

The Iraq government has suggested that it would like a design-and-build contract, a construction method used to control costs. But, industry sources said that they had told potential bidding partners that this was "madness" as a new cultural landmark should not be subject to tight cost control.

Ms Hadid won the Stirling prize, British architecture's most important award, earlier this month for the Evelyn Grace academy school she designed in Brixton, London.

Her London-based practice edged out the Olympic velodrome, which was the hot favourite, and it was the second consecutive year Hadid won the award. She is one of the world's most celebrated architects and is firmly in contention to win the project.