Dame Zaha Hadid: Architectural Legend and a Fearless Inspirer

‘There are 360°, so why stick to one?’

Published
Women
4 min read
Dame Zaha Hadid. (Photo Courtesy: Zaha Hadid <a href="http://www.zaha-hadid.com/archive">Website</a>)
She was an extraordinary role model for women. She was fearless and a trailblazer – her work was brave and radical. Despite sometimes feeling misunderstood, she was widely celebrated and rightly so.
Amanda Levete, Stirling Prize Winner

Dame Zaha Hadid, a well-renowned, barrier-breaker and bold Iraqi-British architect suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 65. She was being treated for bronchitis at a hospital in Miami, where she suddenly had a heart attack, reports the BBC.

The boss lady, Dame Zaha Hadid. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/RIBA">@RIBA</a>)
The boss lady, Dame Zaha Hadid. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@RIBA)

Zaha, the Dame

The most commissioned architect, Zaha was born in Iraq in 1950 into a well-known family in Bhagdad. She studied math at the American University in Beirut and then eventually relocated to the UK, where she became a British citizen.

In the 1970’s she started training at the Architectural Association in London.

Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku, Azerbaijan (2011). Stunning curves that leave your eyes wandering at all times. This building won the London Design Museum award in 2014. One judge even called it “as pure and sexy as Marilyn’s blown skirt”. (Photo Courtesy: Zaha Hadid <a href="http://www.zaha-hadid.com/archive">Website</a>)
Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku, Azerbaijan (2011). Stunning curves that leave your eyes wandering at all times. This building won the London Design Museum award in 2014. One judge even called it “as pure and sexy as Marilyn’s blown skirt”. (Photo Courtesy: Zaha Hadid Website)
She was known as a ‘paper architect’ throughout the 80’s. She won international prizes for her designs, but at the same time was also turned down by many clients for having very ambitious and/or expensive designs.

In 2004, Dame Zaha became the first woman and the first Muslim to win one of the architectural world’s top awards, the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Clients, journalists, fellow professionals are mesmerized by her dynamic forms and strategies for achieving a truly distinctive approach to architecture and its settings. Sources of her originality seem endless. 
Prize’s panel wrote of Hadid in 2004

Guangzhou Opera House, Guangzhou, China (2010)

The opera house of China. What an iconic addition to a remarkable skyline.

(Photo Courtesy: Zaha Hadid <a href="http://www.zaha-hadid.com/archive">Website</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Zaha Hadid Website)

Zaha’s Legacy

Her designs have been commissioned around the world, including London, Hong Kong, Germany and Azerbaijan. Among her widely celebrated designs are the Aquatics Centre that was constructed for the 2012 London Olympics, London’s Serpentine Sackler Gallery, the Guangzhou Opera House in China, and the Heydar Aliyev Centre, Baku in Azerbaijan.

London Aquatics Centre, London, UK (2011)

This was conceptualised and built for the 2012 London Olympics.

(Photo Courtesy: Zaha Hadid <a href="http://www.zaha-hadid.com/archive">Website</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Zaha Hadid Website)

Honours

In 2010 and 2011, she won the prestigious Stirling prize, which is the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) prize for excellence in architecture.

In 2012, she was given the title of ‘Dame’, which is a female equivalent of the honour of knighthood in the British honours system.

The with her RIBA gold medal. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/RIBA">@RIBA</a>)
The with her RIBA gold medal. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@RIBA)

The Dame also won the coveted 2016 Royal Gold Medal for architecture which she was delighted to receive, as said by RIBA president James Duncan.

This is absolutely terrible news. Dame Zaha Hadid was an inspirational woman, and the kind of architect one can only dream of being. Visionary and highly experimental, her legacy despite her young age, is formidable. She leaves behind a body of work from buildings to furniture, footwear and cars, that delight and astound people all around the world. It was only last month that I had the enviable task of awarding Zaha the 2016 Royal Gold Medal for architecture – she was delighted to receive the recognition and adds the medal to an amazing collection of awards, not least winning the RIBA Stirling Prize years running. The world of architecture has lost a star today.

The ‘Queen of Curves’ has not only made a mark for herself but has inspired women all around the world.

Vitra Fire Station, Weil am Rhein, Germany (1993)

This was her first completed project which immediately became an iconic piece of architecture.

(Photo Courtesy: Zaha Hadid <a href="http://www.zaha-hadid.com/archive">Website</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Zaha Hadid Website)

Iconic Productions

The lady who does ‘not like the word compromise’ build an empire by leaving her mark across the world. Below are some of the most jaw-dropping and extravagant architectural pieces by Zaha Hadid and her company.

BMW Central Building, Leipzig, Germany (2005)

If only all office spaces looked this way.

(Photo Courtesy: Zaha Hadid <a href="http://www.zaha-hadid.com/archive">Website</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Zaha Hadid Website)

Nordpark Railway Stations, Innsbruck, Austria (2007)

This was inspired by hanging snowbanks.

(Photo Courtesy: Zaha Hadid <a href="http://www.zaha-hadid.com/archive">Website</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Zaha Hadid Website)

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