Today the world of architecture and art has lost a modern day legend whose legacy will live on for years to come. Many I know have strong opinions about Hadid and her body of work. Her unique vision of thinking far outside the box has earned her many admirers and critics alike. However, whether or not you are fond of her signature style, one cannot ignore her contributions to the field.
Hadid was born and raised in Baghdad at a time where modernity, forward thinking and innovation flourished. “When I was growing up in Iraq, there was an unbroken belief in progress and a great sense of optimism. It was a moment of nation building.” – Zaha Hadid
After completing her undergraduate degree in Mathematics at the American University of Beirut, Hadid moved to London in 1972 to study architecture where she was mentored by and later worked with creatives such as Rem Koolhaus, Bernard Tschumi and Elia Zenghelis.
Since then, Zaha Hadid has thought up countless otherworldly, gravity defying and yet functional architectural spaces; many of which have come to fruition.
Hadid’s approach to design had a very unique fluidity and her structures are seen as a glimpse into the future. Having seen photographs of a number of her projects it is easy to spot her signature style. Her use of lines and curves clearly show her painter’s approach to architecture.
Although I have had the chance to view a few of her models at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions of 2014 and 2015 I have not had the opportunity to experience any of her completed structures. However, it is easy to see how she has been able to very successfully give motion to inanimate structures giving her the reputation of a visionary architect very early on in her career.
Her various projects have been constructed in all corners of the globe from Germany to Korea, from the UK to Azerbaijan. However, it wasn’t till 2010 that she was commissioned by the Iraqi government to design the new Central Bank of Iraq. In 2012 the designs were finalized and the project was finally built on her native soil.
“I will never give myself the luxury of thinking “I’ve made it.”” – Zaha Hadid
Hadid’s success has, no doubt, everything to do with the idea that no matter what one may achieve, one has not yet “made it” and so would aim even higher the next time. It is this thought process that I truly admire and would strive to emulate. Due to her unique talent and work ethic Hadid has earned many an award and title. To name a few: She was the first female to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. She was awarded the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011 and was given the title of Dame in 2015.
There will no doubt be aspiring architects who will design many a building inspired by Zaha Hadid’s style, lines and vision but there will never be another Zaha Hadid.
Hadid passed away of a heart attack in Miami Hospital on March 31st 2016.