Renowned, admired, feared for her grandiose personality that mirrors the gargantuan, billowing curves of her designs, the world of architecture says goodbye to the groundbreaker, the phenomenon, architect Dame Zaha Hadid. Iraqi-born and London-based, Hadid’s career began at an early age with unprecedented wins in competitions for the design of The Peak in Hong Kong and later for the Cardiff Bay Opera House, both of which were never built and instead remained as revolutionary concepts. After establishing Zaha Hadid Architects by 1979, her first major commission to be constructed was the Vitra Fire Station in Weil am Rhein in Germany.
With more iconic buildings under her belt than one could expect is even possible in a lifetime, Hadid was the first woman to receive the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal just this February–simply another award in a long list along with the Pritzker Architecture Prize (also the first woman to receive this award), the Riba Stirling Prize (twice), the Design Museum’s Design of the Year, and pretty much any and every major award for architecture there is.
“I started out trying to create buildings that would sparkle like isolated jewels; now I want them to connect, to form a new kind of landscape, to flow together with contemporary cities and the lives of their people.” – Zaha Hadid
Genius as she may be, peers and critics were often divided on her work–some claiming the designs arrogant and not created for the actual patrons inside. Despite this, she was highly revered and desired with a rigor that drew brands for diversified collaborations in industries from furniture to cars.
With projects in the works as far out as 2025, it is safe to say that Hadid, beyond her standing structures, will continue to be an active force in architecture long after her passing. Zaha Hadid leaves us marveling, continually drawing us into the inspired orbit of her larger-than-life personality and her ensuing body of work.
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