Architect behind the 2012 pool blames spiralling budget on the rising cost of materials

Today for the first time in public, London-based architect Zaha Hadid defended her design for aquatics centre for the London Olympics 2012 against accusations of spiralling costs.

Zaha Hadid

Since it won an international design competition in February 2005, the published cost of the building has risen from £77m to £303m, and the client Olympic Delivery Authority was slammed by the parliamentary select community on communities and local government for being “prepared to spend money like water.”

But on Radio Four’s Today programme this morning, Hadid said: “You can’t have it both ways. The cost of things are what they cost. We’re not designing a very expensive wall cabinet with gems. Because of the steel, the cladding and all, these are what they are costing right now. So I don’t see why it should spiral out of control.”

Hadid was supported by ODA chief executive David Higgins, who said: “This is a very high profile site. It is the front entry to the Games. We couldn’t get away with any hut or tin shed here. It sets the tone for all the other projects on the site.”

Hadid continued: “Part of the dilemma here is that, unlike Europe, here when something comes out of public works, like a sports facility or opera house, there’s a lot of focus on it. We are not accustomed to many of these projects.”