Don't diss Dame Zaha! Zaha Hadid storms out of BBC interview
Dame Zaha's plans for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium were scrapped by the Japanese Prime Minister. (Twitter)
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Top architect Dame Zaha Hadid stormed out of an interview today after she was asked about the deaths of migrant workers in Qatar, where she has designed one of the World Cup stadiums.
The Iraqi-British architect, who has just won one of the prestigious awards in the business, also objected to questions about the cancellation of her project to build Tokyo's Olympic stadium.
She cut short her appearance on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, saying: 'Let's stop this conversation right now, I don't want to carry on.'
Dame Zaha, 64, who designed the Aquatics Centre at the London Olympics, was being interviewed by Sarah Montague after becoming the first woman ever to win the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture.
The presenter asked her about allegations that workers at the Al-Wakrah stadium in Qatar, designed by Dame Zaha for the 2022 World Cup, had died during the construction process - prompting a furious response.
'There haven't been problems actually, I have to put you right, there hasn't been a single problem in Qatar,' the architect said. 'It is absolutely untrue.'
Zaha Hadid's design for Al Wakrah Stadium, Qatar (file photo)
She added: 'There's no deaths on our site whatsoever, absolutely not. You should check your information before you say anything.'
When Ms Montague suggested that the issue was 'fascinating', Dame Zaha replied: 'It's not fascinating, because it was reported in the Press and they had to withdraw their statement and they had to apologise to me for wrongdoing.'
The interviewer then went on to discuss the Olympic stadium in Tokyo, which was scrapped earlier this year - five years before the Games - after the Japanese prime minister suggested that it was too expensive.
Dame Zaha said: 'I didn't pull out, I pulled out because there was no contractor to go with. Again, this is a very serious story and it should be reported accurately.'
Ms Montague tried to change the subject, but the architect said: 'Don't ask me a question when you can't let me finish it, then I won't say anything.'
She added: 'Listen to me - let's stop this conversation right now, I don't want to carry on. Thank you very much.'
Earlier, Dame Zaha was asked about her experience of sexism in the architecture world, and suggested that the situation had 'got much better'.
She has won a string of top prizes for her futuristic-looking work, which includes Cardiff Bay Opera House and the Vitra Fire Station in Germany, with the Gold Medal capping her illustrious career.
However, Dame Zaha has also been criticised for her over-the-top designs, as well as for designing buildings in repressive dictatorships such as Qatar and Azerbaijan.
No construction workers are known to have died while working on her stadium in Doha, but campaigners claim that more than 1,000 employees have died on construction projects linked to the controversial World Cup.
Last year, Dame Zaha said that she was powerless to do anything about working conditions in Qatar, adding: 'I have nothing to do with the workers. I think that's an issue the government - if there's a problem - should pick up.'
In 2012, she was appointed to design the main stadium to be used in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, as well as the Rugby World Cup the year before.
However, after costs spiralled to £1.4billion, prime minister Shinzo Abe cancelled the plans in July this year and announced a new bidding process to build the stadium.
Dame Zaha's company denied that the design of the stadium contributed to the cost overrun.
By Hugo Gye