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Zaha succeeds in Vienna and Iraq

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Work is expected to start in November on Zaha Hadid Architects’ competition-winning library and learning centre for the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria

The five-storey, 28,000m² centre, which will also house a ‘language laboratory’, offices, a bookshop and an auditorium.

The polygonal building, which beat rival proposals from Thom Mayne’s US practice Morphosis and Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas in late 2008, will complete in 2013.

The scheme is part of a larger masterplan for the university’s eastern campus, which also includes buildings by Japanese star Hitoshi Abe and BUSarchitektur.

Zaha Hadid Architects' library and learning centre for the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria - floor plans entrance

Zaha Hadid Architects’ library and learning centre for the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria - floor plans entrance

Meanwhile Zaha Hadid has won her first commission in her home country – the new Baghdad headquarters for the Central Bank of Iraq.

The news comes two months after an attack on the existing building left 15 people dead and as the US military prepares to withdraw from the war-torn country next year.

According to Zaha Hadid Architects, Baghdad-born Hadid was asked to come up with concept designs for the flagship building by the Iraqi authorities before the bomb attack in June.

Initial talks were held with bank governor Sinan Al-Shabibi in Istanbul earlier this month, and images of the scheme are not expected until next year.

It is not the first time Hadid has been linked to projects in Baghdad. Back in February 2005, the architect refuted allegations that she had been approached to draw up plans for a new Islamic museum in the Iraqi capital (AJ 10.03.05).

Hadid is the latest ‘starchitect’ to land a prize commission in Iraq this year, following in the footsteps of Daniel Libeskind, who in May (AJ 13.05.10) unveiled plans for a Kurdish national museum in the ancient city of Erbil.

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