Zaha Hadid: The First Lady of Architecture

Walter Raymond

She was the first female recipient of the Pritzker Prize and the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). She leaves behind a trail of architectural masterpieces, a bold and inimitable style and a very difficult gap to fill.

Zaha Hadid was a formidable and globally-influential force in architecture. Highly experimental, rigorous and exacting, her work from buildings to furniture, footwear, and cars, is revered and desired by brands and people all around the world. Due to her aspiring efforts over the years she was the first woman to receive the the Royal Gold Medal in 2016 from Jane Duncan, president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), before dying of a heart attack on March 31, 2016, at age 65, while being treated for bronchitis at a hospital in Miami, Florida (United States ), the city where a recent project, One Thousand Museum, is underway. It is Hadid’s first residential building in the Americas and slated for completion in 2019.

Zaha Hadid

Zaha Hadid was considered the most relevant female architect in the world. Every building was a new invention, a way of introducing bold designs and different ways that defied the boundaries of design and architecture. Buildings like the City of Dreams in Macau, China, or the interiors of the Opus building in Dubai, plus Madrid’s Justice Campus, and the Aquatics Centre in London, UK, represent just a small glimpse of her creativity and an eloquent sign of her personal and professional courage. Other impressive works that Hadid started before she passed are still under construction, such as the Scorpion Tower in Miami – now known as One Thousand Museum – and its twin counterpart Scorpion Tower, which is currently being built in Dubai. Also in the works is the Grand Théatre de Rabat, a futuristic building in Morocco (started in 2014) along with other buildings.

Zaha Hadid was distinguished by a particular architectural style, considered by some as a neo-futuristic. Her work is clad in geometric modernism and the advanced use of curves and elongated forms, which add unmistakable sensuality and style to her structures. Her passion exceeded architecture. “I’ve been interested in fashion since I was a child. It is fascinating how fashion seems to compete with the architecture,” she said, and her innovative designs for shoes, handbags, furniture and other objects confirm her statement.

Zaha Hadid: the bold woman

Born in Baghdad in 1950, she was educated by French nuns and studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut. Later, in 1972, she came to England when she was only 20 years old, where she graduated in 1977. The Dutch architect 
Rem Koolhaas–her sponsor–described her as “a planet in its own inimitable orbit.” In 1979, Hadid founded her private architectural practice in the British capital where she lived for most of her life. Aware of her fierce temperament she once commented: “I just do not behave like other people expect.” Justified with the same energy, she guarded her private life as a single woman with no children who was entirely dedicated to architecture: “If it doesn’t kill you, it is not good. You have to get involved full-time, you cannot face your craft coming and going. “

A Great Architect

Zaha Hadid was an honorary member of the Academy of Arts and Letters of the United States and a member of the American Institute of Architecture. In 2003, she earned the Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies Van Der Rohe of the European Union, and in 2004, she was consecrated as the first woman to receive the Pritzker Prize, the most important award in the field of architecture. Two-time winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize, she also won the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the French Republic, the Premium Imperiale from Japan, and was named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2012. 

Related Articles:

One Thousand Museum Tower: Zaha Hadid’s First Luxury Skyscraper in the West

Opus Office Tower By Zaha Hadid: Luxury And Modernity In The Form Of A Cube

Zaha Hadid’s Legacy Buildings in New York and Baku

© | 2019