Critic posts letter of regret to Zaha Hadid

Earlier this week it was announced that Zaha Hadid had filed a lawsuit against the New York Review of Books and architecture critic Martin Filler, for having published defamatory remarks about the architect in an unrelated review of Rowan Moore’s Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture.

Hadid claimed that Filler’s review was “a personal attack disguised as a book review” that opened her up to “public ridicule and contempt”.

Filler has now publicly claimed that he regrets the review and regards his comments about Hadid as mistakes.

He said: “In my review of Rowan Moore’s Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture, I quoted comments by the architect Zaha Hadid, who designed the Al Wakrah stadium in Qatar, when she was asked in London in February 2014 about revelations a week earlier in the Guardian that hundreds of migrant laborers had died while working on construction projects in Qatar.

“I wrote that an ‘estimated one thousand labourers… have perished while constructing her project thus far…However, work did not begin on the site for the Al Wakrah stadium, until two months after Ms. Hadid made those comments; and construction is not scheduled to begin until 2015. There have been no worker deaths on the Al Wakrah project and Ms. Hadid’s comments about Qatar that I quoted in the review had nothing to do with the Al Wakrah site or any of her projects.”

Filler was alluding to comments made by the architect when asked about the conditions for workers on the construction of Qatar World Cup plans. Hadid responded saying it was the responsibility of the government rather than the architect.

She said: “It’s not my duty as an architect to look at it. I cannot do anything about it because I have no power to do anything about it. I think it’s a problem anywhere in the world. But, as I said, I think there are discrepancies all over the world.”

She added: “I think that’s an issue the government – if there’s a problem – should pick up. Hopefully, these things will be resolved.”