Skip to main content

Zaha Hadid: 'I wouldn't build a prison'

By Sheena McKenzie, CNN
October 31, 2013 -- Updated 1403 GMT (2203 HKT)
Architect Zaha Hadid, outside Glasgow's Riverside Museum, her first major public commission in the UK, in 2011.
Architect Zaha Hadid, outside Glasgow's Riverside Museum, her first major public commission in the UK, in 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Architect Zaha Hadid says politicians should take care of their work force
  • Believes architecture can "alleviate an oppressive situation"
  • Full article to appear on CNN.com tomorrow

(CNN) -- She wouldn't build a prison. But the world's most famous female architect, Zaha Hadid, says she's willing to work in countries which have faced criticisms over their human rights records.

The 62-year-old Iraqi-born Briton made the comments during an exclusive interview with CNN -- to appear in full Friday.

Hadid, the first woman to receive the Pritzker Prize in 2004 -- regarded as the Nobel of architecture -- designed Beijing's Galaxy Soho shopping center and Heydar Aliyev cultural center in Azerbaijan.

Is she concerned about the human rights credentials of the countries -- Hadid is responsible for 950 projects in 44 countries -- she works in?

"As an architect, if you can in any way alleviate an oppressive situation, or elevate a culture, then I think that you should," Hadid, who has been commissioned to build Japan's 2020 Olympic Stadium and recently opened London's Serpentine Sackler gallery, told CNN.

"It's different if someone asks you to build a prison -- I wouldn't do it. But if I'm doing a museum or a library, I think that's different," added Hadid, whose latest project is designing a superyacht.

"I think that you can't isolate nations because somebody doesn't approve. And if that is the case, then they shouldn't have diplomatic relationships with them."

And the conditions of the construction workers?

"It's not your responsibility really. I think different nations should take care of their workforce.

"As an architect, if you are involved in every layer then honestly you don't do anything. I'm not saying I shouldn't be thinking about it, but I think it's a job for the politicians, for the media, for the locals, to deal with it."

For the full interview, see CNN on November 1.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
Put yourself in the shoes (and sixth-century black robes) of ISIS' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the mysterious boss of the terror group.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0500 GMT (1300 HKT)
China's Xi Jinping and India's Narendra Modi, leaders of the most populous nations face similar challenges. Can they learn from each other?
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 2236 GMT (0636 HKT)
The U.S. is not returning combat troops to Iraq, President Barack Obama insists.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 0038 GMT (0838 HKT)
A man abducted alongside killed U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff tells CNN that no one from the U.S. government has tried to talk with him.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1508 GMT (2308 HKT)
Mulatu Astatke is the founding father of ethio-jazz: a fusion of Ethiopian music with western jazz.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
Have you been to these? The global museum list, released Tuesday, ranks 25 of the world's best museums.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1703 GMT (0103 HKT)
iOS 8, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, comes with new features that you'll enjoy.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 0927 GMT (1727 HKT)
Psychedelic drugs are being researched as a potential treatment for conditions ranging from anxiety to tobacco and alcohol addiction.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0142 GMT (0942 HKT)
It's a surfer's paradise -- but Diah Rahayu is out on her own when it comes to professional women's wave-riding in Bali.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1409 GMT (2209 HKT)
Even death couldn't part two skeletons excavated from a lost chapel in an English county, found with their fingers entwined.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 1620 GMT (0020 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT