Layout critic Stephen Bayley has attacked architect Zaha Hadid, describing her as aggressive, intractable and bitter.

Writing for The Spectator final week, Bayley rounded on Hadid after she terminated a BBC radio interview when the interviewer questioned her about difficulties with her stadium tasks in Tokyo and Qatar.

“Listeners could have formed opinions of their own about Hadid’s intractable views, aggressive demeanour, lack of charm and ocean-going bitterness,” Bayley wrote. “Hadid feels resentful and wronged.”

Bayley, who founded the Style Museum in London, accused Hadid and fellow starchitects of deliberately making buildings that ignore their context, have “questionable performance” and are usually in excess of spending budget.


Associated story: Zaha Hadid cuts off reside BBC interview in excess of Qatar and Tokyo stadium queries


Underneath the headline “Zaha Hadid’s aggressive performance on Today confirms why architecture would be better off with out her,” Bayley also criticised Hadid for functioning for dictators.

“Her latest buildings often win approval from supine architecture and layout media, so work quite nicely as salvation-by means of-layout for repressive regimes,” he wrote.

Bayley referred to criticisms that Hadid’s now-abandoned design for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium, “was conceived with neither respect nor reference to its locality”.

“That, of program, was nearly surely her intention,” Bayley wrote.

Zaha Hadid's Qatar 2022 World Cup stadiumZaha Hadid’s Qatar 2022 Globe Cup stadium

This approach is endemic amongst globe-trotting architects, Bayley stated. “‘Global Architects’ like Hadid do not want to respect their consumer or his web site, but to venerate themselves.”

“Critics mumbled that she had no sense of context or locality, preferring to crash land photogenic ideas whose function was not to serve her client’s demands, but to promote her personal standing as a ‘global architect’,” he continued.


Connected story: BBC apologises to Zaha Hadid more than Radio 4 interview


“Her fabulous, zoomorphic types were always eye-catching, but usually challenging to create. And virtually constantly, so neglectful was she of tectonic practicalities, that her buildings went deliriously above-budget.”

The write-up concluded: “With budgets out-of-manage, questionable performance, ludicrous ‘featurism’ and an intemperate and headstrong persona, Zaha Hadid has, alas, confirmed a lot of popular prejudices about architecture and architects. She might also have, damagingly, confirmed prejudices about what happens when a female is scorned.”

Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium by Zaha HadidZaha Hadid Architects failed to secure a construction firm for its Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium

Hadid terminated her BBC Radio 4 interview with Sarah Montague on 24 September – the day the architect was named as the recipient of the 2014 Royal Gold Medal for architecture. The interview turned sour right after Montague asked about alleged deaths at Hadid’s Al-Wakrah stadium for the 2022 Globe Cup in Qatar.

Hadid denied the declare and the BBC later on apologised for the way the interview was performed.

Stephen Bayley founded the Layout Museum in 1989, and is the writer of books which includes Ugly: The Aesthetics Of Every thing and Harley Earl And The Dream Machine. He was previously the design critic for the Observer newspaper and is now a typical contributor to The Spectator.

Portrait of Zaha Hadid is by Steve Double.

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