One of the world’s most renowned architects died today in Miami. Adored and detested, she was someone who could never be ignored. She leaves a forceful and distinctly identifiable mark of her presence on earth.
Zaha Hadid was widely regarded to be the greatest female architect in the world today. Born in Baghdad in 1950, she studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before starting her architectural journey in 1972 at the Architectural Association in London.
By 1979 she had established her own practice in London – Zaha Hadid Architects – garnering a reputation across the world for her ground-breaking theoretical works including The Peak in Hong Kong (1983), the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin (1986) and the Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales (1994).
Working with office partner Patrik Schumacher, her interest was in the interface between architecture, landscape, and geology; which her practice integrates with the use of innovative technologies often resulting in unexpected and dynamic architectural forms.
Zaha Hadid’s first major built commission was the Vitra Fire Station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany (1993); subsequent notable projects including the MAXXI in Rome (2009), the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games (2011) and the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku (2013) illustrate her quest for complex, fluid space. Buildings such as the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati (2003) and the Guangzhou Opera House in China (2010) have also been hailed as architecture that transforms our ideas of the future with visionary spatial concepts defined by advanced design, material and construction processes.
She has been the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, probably the most important prize in the world. Afterwards she has been awarded countless other prizes – twice the RIBA Stirling Prize – and recognition. She held various academic roles in the most relevant universities around the world. Her work includes product design, set design and even shoes and jewels.