|Biographical detail : ||The internationally acclaimed and groundbreaking Iraqi architect whose designs evoke passion.
Dame Zaha Hadid was one of the chief proponents of deconstructivists architecture in the world and was hailed as one of the most important contemporary thinkers in the field. Her buildings are like a gust of wind - organic, forceful and utterly natural.
She was not just a rock star and a designer of spectacles. She also liberated architectural geometry, giving it a whole new expressive identity. Geometry became, in her hands, a vehicle for unprecedented and eye-popping new spaces but also for emotional ambiguity. Her buildings elevated uncertainty to an art, conveyed in the odd ways one entered and moved through those buildings and in the questions her structures raised about how they were supported.
Hadid emerged as a new star with designs for the Vitra Fire Station in Weil-Am-Rhein, completed in 1993. Since then, Arab Sheikhs, American museum trustees, Asian governments and European civic authorities, all interested in her work, have pursued her.
Hadid won the international competition for the opera house in Cardiff (UK), and her extra-ordinary designs are now on order in Barcelona (the Arts Plaza), Leipzig (a car plant: 2005), Wolfsburg (a science centre), Rome (a museum of modern art), Salerno, Italy (a ferry terminal), Cincinnati, Ohio (an arts centre), Innsbruck, Austria (a café-topped ski jump: 2002), Dubai (Tower Complex), the Bridge Pavilion in Zaragoza, Spain (2208), Abu Dhabi (a sinuous bridge) and biggest of all master plan for a high-tech city on a 200-hectare site; Singapore Silicon Valley scheduled to take 20 years and something like $15bn to complete. In 2003, she won the European Union’s Mies van der Rohe architecture prize for her work on a tram terminal in Strasbourg.
Hadid employed more than 40 architects (over 300 employees) in her studio in a converted former London school and gained international status, with a reputation as a fearless critic of new architectural forms, materials, contexts and ideas. She was named the winner of a world-wide competition for a contemporary-art centre in Rome.
Zaha Hadid won the 2004 Pritzker Prize, architecture’s equivalent of the Noble Prize – the citation for $100,000 Pritzker Prize described her route to recognition as an “heroic struggle.” She was the first woman ever to win such prestigious award. In 2003 she was appointed a CBE for services to architecture.
The Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal 2016 was won by Dame Zaha Hadid, the most influential and successful woman architect the world has seen. The Riba Gold Medal is the world’s oldest and most established architecture prize, first awarded in 1848.
Her womanliness was perhaps what makes her designs so compelling. She brought a female sensibility with a superb touch. Because her approach was so international, her designs were comfortable anywhere in the world. Zaha was a woman and an artist of her time – and yet she was very much ahead of it too.
London based, Baghdad born, Dame Zaha Hadid was a woman of culture. She got great personal style – her hair, her voice, her clothes, her luminosity. She bridged East and West with pure sophistication.
Zaha Hadid moved to London at 22 to train as an architect taught at the school where she studied, London’s Architectural Association and kept winning big competitions. In 1983 she won her first international competition to build the Peak, a leisure centre in Honk Kong. She used the £100,000 prize money to set up her firm in London. She was professor at Yale, Harvard, Chicago, Hamburg, New York and Vienna.
Dame Zaha Hadid suffered a sudden heart attack and passed away in Miami. Her soaring structures left a mark on skylines and imaginations around the world and in the process reshaped architecture for the modern age.