Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Trailblazer Dame Zaha Hadid hangs up on Radio 4 after tense exchange

rexfeatures_2303588f.jpg

Interviews are a pretty nerve-racking business at the best of times, but when they’re being broadcast live to millions on the BBC’s flagship current affairs programme, Today, it’s a whole different ballgame.

Being grilled by journalist heavyweights from Jim Naughtie to Mishal Hussein could make even the most confident person quiver in their boots, but not Dame Zaha Hadid.

This morning, the world renowned London-based architect hung-up on an interview with the Today programme’s Sarah Montague. 

Hadid appeared on the programme to discuss her becoming the first woman to be awarded the Royal Institute of British Architect’s (Riba) Royal Gold Medal architecture award.

But the discussion swiftly descended into a heated argument after Montague brought up accusations that there had been deaths of migrant workers whilst working on Qatar’s Al-Wakrah World Cup stadium – one of Hadid’s projects.

After asking Hadid about her  “formidable” personality and “scary character”, Montague states:

“More than 1,200 migrant workers have died there.”

But Hadid quickly retorts that that is:

“Absolutely not true. We sued someone for writing that and saying that and it had to be withdrawn from the press as it is inaccurate. It is absolutely untrue.”

Then continues to say: “There have been no deaths on our site whatsoever, You should check your information before you say anything.”

The conversation becomes increasingly heated until Montague asks Hadid a question, then interrupts her answer to say they have run out of time, to which Hadid says:

“Don’t ask me a question when you can’t let me finish it. Listen to me, let’s stop this conversation right now. I don’t want to carry on. Thank you very much."

Whatever the truth may be, Hadid certainly managed to hold her own.

Aquatics Centre in the 2012 London Olympic Park, Stratford

Aquatics Centre in the 2012 London Olympic Park, Stratford

President of Riba, Jane Duncan, has hailed Hadid as a:

“Formidable and globally-influential force in architecture.”

“Her work from buildings to furniture, footwear and cars, is quite rightly revered and desired by brands and people all around the world,” she says.

The Riba medal is the United Kingdom’s most prestigious architecture award, and is given in recognition of a lifetime’s work.

Previous winners include renowned architects, Le Courbusier, Frank Gehry and Sir George Gilbert Scott.

The award has been personally approved by the Queen.

Dame Zaha was born in Baghdad in 1950 and moved to the UK in the 1972 to train as an architect.

Serpentine Sackler Gallery and The Magazine cafeteria

Serpentine Sackler Gallery and The Magazine cafeteria

She has designed buildings worldwide, from China, and Rome to London.

Zaha is undoubtedly the most influential female architect in history, winning numerous awards and designing buildings worldwide, including the Aquatics Centre for the 2012 London Olympics, the Mazzi Museum in Rome and the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton.

In 2004, Hadid became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

In 2012, Hadid was made a dame, and in 2013 she appeared in the Woman’s Hour Power List.

Speaking to the Financial Times, who suggested her recognition was long overude, Hadid says:

“I’ve always been independent and because I’m ‘flamboyant’ I’ve always been seen as difficult.”

“As a woman in architecture you’re always an outsider. It’s OK, I like being on the edge, she says.”

Related

Rancillac.jpg

Inside the marginalised world of women and Pop Art

ribbon-chapel-by-hiroshi-nakamura-nap-co-ltd-01.jpg

Take a look at the world's most extraordinary building designs of 2015

yyy.jpg

The most beautiful and stylish small bedrooms

GettyImages-489400678.jpg

Watch Viola Davis' powerful Emmys acceptance speech

tech women.jpeg

Meet the 'wogrammers' breaking gender stereotypes in the tech industry

Neilston, East Renfrewshire.jpg

Britain's most desirable postcodes for work-life balance revealed

ThinkstockPhotos-487390388.jpg

87% of British women experience sexism at work, says Stylist study

rexfeatures_427953ab.jpg

The most romantic places in Britain revealed

hell-use.jpg

Escape the city with these unique and charming UK holiday hideaways

Comments

More

Two thirds of us wouldn't recognise the symptoms of ovarian cancer

Would you be able to identify the telltale signs?

by Hayley Spencer
29 Mar 2017

Watch this moving video about representation in the arts

This dance company hopes to inspire young African American girls

29 Mar 2017

Lego builder: it's a real job and you can apply for it

Legoland is hiring a model designer

by Amy Swales
29 Mar 2017

A man has been cleared of sexual assault because he didn’t ‘enjoy’ it

Diego Cruz Alonso, 21, was found not guilty of assault on Monday.

by Moya Crockett
29 Mar 2017

“Dating with bipolar: how I learnt to be open about my mental health”

One writer's frank account of opening up to a new partner

29 Mar 2017

Watch hilarious video that debunks idea women are bad at maths

The 1980s-inspired send-up encourages women to pursue STEM careers

29 Mar 2017

Sexist tube ad comparing a woman to a house extension taken down

But it shouldn't have been made in the first place.

by Hayley Spencer
29 Mar 2017

Watch the chilling new trailer for Netflix's Casting JonBenét

The film set to drop on April 28th

29 Mar 2017

This is how much your old Sylvanian Families toys are worth on eBay

(Hint: it’s a LOT)

by Kayleigh Dray
29 Mar 2017

Love Actually fans, there’s another sequel in the works

And this time, Laura Linney is making a comeback

by Kayleigh Dray
29 Mar 2017