Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid was one of the most famous female architects. She is also known as the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004 and made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II for services to architecture in 2012. In 2015, Hadid was the first (and still only) woman honored with the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects. Even now, the name of Hadid is still recognizable as one of the most influential female architects in the world.
“Architecture is like writing. You have to edit it over and over so it looks effortless.” — Zaha Hadid
Zaha Hadid was born in Baghdad, Iraq on 31 October 1950. She belonged to a wealthy family, with a father who was a successful industrialist from Mosul in the northern city of Iraq. After studying mathematics at the American University of Beirut, she moved to London in 1972 to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture.
After Hadid has graduated, she went to work for her former professors Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zenghelis, meeting many other contemporary architects during this time. In 1980, Hadid officially started up her own architectural firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, in London.
Vitra Fire Station
The Vitra Fire Station was the first of Hadid’s buildings designed and constructed. She was asked to design a small fire station for the Vitra factory in Switzerland. It was composed with sharp diagonals and combined raw concrete and glass. Soon after completion, the fire station became an exhibit space to celebrate Frank Gehry’s work.
This marked the start of many popular buildings designed by Hadid that used curves and imaginative designs.
Key Points of Note
London Aquatics Centre
London | 2011
This is the main building for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which covers three swimming pools and 17,500 seats inside. Hadid once described this aquatics centre as “inspired by the fluid geometry of water in movement.”
Dongdaemum Design Plaza
Seoul | 2014
This is the largest buildings in Seoul and it’s called “Great Gate of the East.” With the smooth-skinned and round-shaped structure, it perfectly combines the nature and history of the city.
Death and Legacy
Hadid died of a heart attack on March 31 2016, aged 65. Her studio announced that “Zaha Hadid was widely regarded to be the greatest female architect in the world today,” and her firm continues with many projects around the world.
What do you think of Zaha Hadid and her work?
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