Zaha Hadid’s Qatar World Cup Stadium Makes “Accidental Vagina” a Universal Phrase

Oh, a stadium by any other name…

“¿Una vela o una vagina?” wonders Madrid’s La Razón, unable to discern whether Hadid’s design is supposed to be a sail or a set of labia.

Zaha Hadid, the world’s most prominent contemporary female architect, conceived the form of the Qatar 2022 World Cup’s 40,000-seat Al Wakrah stadium to echo the nation’s maritime heritage.

“[T]he design is supposed to resemble the sails of a dhow boat which is traditionally used for pearl fishing by Qataris,” the Independent reports, yet international media have stuck to other descriptions: “uma vagina,” “stade du vagin,” “a fanny,” “yonic structure,” or “accidental vagina,” depending on where you live. Press outlets ranging from to Malaysian Digest to Jeune Afrique to Correio da Bahia to La Razón to Le Monde have, for a second, pushed aside the human rights violations of the stadium’s construction to point out that the architectural misstep heard ’round the world has an unfortunate resemblance to female genitalia.

We’ve covered our fair share of phallic architecture, but as Vagenda editor Holly Baxter writes in the Guardian, yonic architecture has been a far rarer occurrence in comparison. “The world even has an ode to the wonky boner, that lopsided erection that is the Leaning Tower of Pisa,” she points out, going on to offer the stadium’s potential as an agent for change. “Perhaps the bigwigs who will be running the stadium should embrace this so-called faux pas and rebrand it as a deliberate nod towards the increasingly liberal Qatari policies concerning women in sport.” Hmm. We’ll see how that goes.

— Janelle Zara

Image by Zaha Hadid Architects