© Zaha Hadid Architects
© Zaha Hadid Architects
© Zaha Hadid Architects

Central Bank of Iraq

Situated on the banks of the Tigris, a waterway of ancient significance, Zaha Hadid’s design for the Central Bank of Iraq signals a new phase of construction in a growing and developing Baghdad. The 170 m-tall tower sits within a 200 m × 100 m basement box more than 15 m in depth, and its twisted form required complex structural analysis.

A number of factors affected the end design, which comprises a narrow shape up to Level 7, opening out to provide wider floorplates on the storeys above. Wind loads were considered, given the height of the building and its top-heavy structure, as well as the region’s propensity for seismic activity. With local political and social factors in mind, bomb blast resistance was also crucial, and we have been able to ensure that the structure will withstand high levels of impact. Given the depth of the basement and its proximity to the river, we also ensured high levels of waterproofing.  

Having considered options using steel and concrete as sole materials as well as components of various hybrid designs for the building’s stability system, we chose reinforced concrete for all elements of the structure following a period of in-depth finite element analysis. 

Implementing this for floors, the vertical core and perimeter columns (or fins, which added to stability as well as providing shading) simplified connection details and optimised the construction programme. These external structural fins twist vertically as they ascend, forming part of the integrated cladding system and providing a distinct geometric form which defines the internal architectural volumetric. 

Having created a full 3D model of the structure led by our in-house parametric analysis team, we set up a data exchange tool between disciplines to manage the design flow more effectively and aid the efficiency of the process.

172m-tall commercial tower formed from reinforced concrete with a twisting structural exoskeleton

Baghdad, Iraq
Central Bank of Iraq
Zaha Hadid Architects
90,000 m2