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Zaha walks into Olympic brouhaha with Cypriot flag row

Zaha Hadid has instigated yet another Olympic coup by becoming the first architect to start an international dispute ahead of London's 2012 games.

The 2004 Pritzker Prize-winner has incensed Cyprus' Olympic Committee by including the flag of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in a computer visualisation of her new aquatic centre.

Only Turkey recognises the 'breakaway' northern part of the island, which claimed independence in 1983.

Zaha's image, which features on the London 2012 website, shows the republic's red and white pennant among a row of other international flags outside the proposed centre - one of the Games' landmark facilities.

The blunder has come as a particular surprise to the mayor's office in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus.

Less than four months ago Hadid won a competition to redesign and landscape Eleftheria Square in the centre of the divided city (Ajplus 20.07.05).

According to a report in newspaper Cyprus Weekly, the mayor's office said it would be making 'the necessary protests through the appropriate channels'.

However, the AJ understands Hadid's office is blaming the gaffe on the graphics company that created the images for the practice.

by Richard Waite

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