In Honour of Dame Zaha Hadid
Dame Zaha Hadid was renowned for her futuristic forms. Her buildings swooped, curved, and undulated in dramatic and unusual ways. Her designs can be found in cities around the world, including the London Aquatics Center, which was built for the 2012 Summer Olympics, and the opera house in Guangzhou, China.
Hadid, born in Baghdad in 1950, became a revolutionary force in British architecture even though for many years she struggled to win commissions in the UK. The Iraqi government described her death as “an irreplaceable loss to Iraq and the global community”. She studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before launching her architectural career in London at the Architectural Association.
By 1979 she had established her own practice in London – Zaha Hadid Architects – and gained a reputation across the world for 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).
The first major build commission that earned her international recognition was the Vitra Fire Station in Weil Am Rhein, Germany (1993). Her scheme to build the Cardiff Bay opera house was scrapped in the 1990s and she didn’t produce a major building in the UK until she built the transport museum in Glasgow, which was completed in 2011. Other notable projects included the MAXXI: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome (2009) and the Heyder Aliyev Centre in Baku (2013). Buildings such as the Rosenthal Centre of Contemporary Art in Cincinnati (2003) andf the Guangzhou Opera House in China (2010) were also hailed as architecture that transformed ideas of the future.
She became the first women recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004, architecture’s highest honour. She twice won the UK’s most prestigious architecture award, the RIBA Stirling Prize. Other awards included the Republic of France’s Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and Japan’s Praemium Imperiale.
She was recently awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects’ 2016 royal gold medal, the first woman to be awarded the prestigious honour in her own right.
Our sincere condolences goes out to her family, friends and fans.