After Zaha's "vagina" stadium, here are
six more examples of yonic architecture


Following the row over whether Zaha Hadid's World Cup stadium looks like a vagina, here's a roundup of yonic architecture from the Dezeen archives. As one commenter wrote: "There are enough phallic buildings in the world; maybe it's time for some vaginal ones".

Zaha Hadid's yonic stadium for Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup

Last week Hadid described claims that Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup stadium resembles a vagina as "embarrassing" and "ridiculous" but many Dezeen readers feel the similarity is a positive thing, given how many buildings resemble phallic symbols of power.

"What's so wrong with things looking like vaginas?" asked one reader, while another said the stadium could serve as "a subtle contribution to the women's rights movement in Qatar."

Red Town Office by Taranta Creations
Red Town Office by Taranta Creations

"Yonic" refers to forms that resemble the vagina or the vulva, and Dezeen writers and readers have been spotting them in projects such as the Shanghai office of Chinese architecture studio Taranta Creations, which features a staircase enclosed within a vagina-like orifice. "People entering the stairs are like sperms," remarks one commenter.

Monte St Angelo Subway Station by Amanda Levete Architects and Anish Kapoor
Monte St Angelo Subway Station by Amanda Levete Architects and Anish Kapoor

This subway station entrance for Naples, Italy, designed by architect Amanda Levete and artist Anish Kapoor, is similarly suggestive. "Most of the phallic buildings I have seen in my life have been in Italy," says one of the less explicit comments. "So of all places I cannot think where a design like this it would be better suited."

Leviathan by Anish Kapoor
Leviathan by Anish Kapoor

Artist Anish Kapoor has a penchant for yonic forms. His Leviathan project involved creating a series of womb-like orbs in the Grand Palais, Paris. However one commenter felt this one looks more like a "whale's stomach".

Domino Sugar by SHoP Architects and James Corner Field Operations
Domino Sugar New York by SHoP Architects and James Corner Field Operations

Architectural structures have long been compared to the male organ but the debate about Zaha's stadium has thrown up a number of buildings that are more female in form.

"For those of you who call most architecture phallic, here are your vagina buildings," writes one reader in response to these skyscrapers with orifices proposed by SHoP Architects and James Corner Field Operations for Brooklyn.

"Yonic buildings also do a great job of not blocking views to Manhattan," adds another reader.

Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort by MAD
Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort by MAD

MAD's Sheraton Huzhou Hot Spring Resort in China could be the most yonic tall building we've published - although it could also represent a horseshoe, a figure 8, a donut and a specific type of sex toy, according to readers.

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners
Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

Finally there's Spaceport America by Foster + Partners, which prompted one reader to tentatively point out: "Gee, from above it looks like, ummm, well... female private parts."

  • #letsfocusonarchitecture

    Seriously Dezeen? Do you have to downgrade to such lowly articles?

    • Benoit Balz

      How can these structures be accurately categorised as vulvic?

    • Will

      I agree, this is a new low for Dezeen :/

  • Perplexed

    This post seems like a desperate attempt to stretch out a discussion that is both sad and stupid.

    Should architects censor their form finding process for the sake of some anonymous commentators that seem to be stuck in their puberty?

    • Nerdy

      No, of course, we just have to assume it, I guess.

    • benjamin

      The discussion was most definitely not “sad and stupid”. But I agree with your opinion on this post.

    • grown up

      “commentators that seem to be stuck in their puberty” – This statement lacks substance because actually teens in their puberty find it awkward and are too embarrassed to talk about genitals.

      After the puberty is over, most people have developed a healthy relationship with their genitals and are able to freely discuss vagina shaped buildings on Dezeen. Most people… :-)

  • Steeevyo

    Dezeen. The Daily Mail of contemporary design.

  • consumethis

    Hi Dezeen, you are feeding off a vagina… congrats, everyone is looking!

  • Vag

    You people take life way too seriously, it’s a bit of a banter, cheer up.

  • Virgin Spring

    On my art foundation course I was told by a painting tutor that “Men create towers and women create caves.” At the time, 20 and something years ago, I thought this was a simplistic, preposterous, sexist and limited view of creativity. Well blow me, it turns out that I was wrong and that Freud dude may have had a point. For goodness sake don’t discuss sexual expression and architecture; someone might point out the inequity between the quantity of towers to caves.

  • Kristian

    The recent refurbishment of the Cutty Sark in Greenwich deserves a mention. The advertisements around the tube are great. With that said, I think this article takes very lightly a potentially very serious and interesting topic that deserves an academic essay or a good piece of art writing, not a slideshow citing user’s comments, half winking.

  • Hurr

    How do you run this article and then skip Chicago’s 150 North Michigan building?

  • idplano

    This circumstance had brought down the art of building due to the architects to graphic, diciplinar this confusion, undermines the very concept of the architecture to reduce it to mere graphic. Pure Calligraphy.

    “Drawing on the debate on the ornament in Vienna” MGP

  • Peret
  • student

    It’s really cute how we are pretending that any of these are nearly as sexual as her stadium.

    • agreed


  • Benjamin

    No way Dezeen. This thread isn’t valid without the world most DEFINITION of a yonic building:

    Dominique Perrault’s EWHA Woman’s University in Seoul

  • Karen Johnston Dandewich

    Zaha Hadid’s stadium is beautiful, and its shape has a ventilating function, which is long overdue in stadium design. If it’s a vaginal form then I guess all the stadiums designed by men in the last two thousand years have been anal. Thank you Ms Hadid.

  • Whaaa

    How many people are actually going to see / experience the stadium from the viewpoint in the illustration?

  • James

    I never realised there was so much genitalia depicted in the built environment!

  • SoCal88

    The stadium looks so comfy and inviting!

  • sha

    What’s the problem of having a vaginal shaped concept for our design art? Why does everybody think it is ridiculous? Why should we refuse to be inspired by the sexual organ’s shape to come up with our concept design?

    The vagina represents one of the nicest forms in nature by the way and therefore can be a good reference to define the concept designs in architecture and other kinds of visual arts. It works well.