Zaha Hadid – A Tribute

By danielle

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We lost a good one last week. The renowned Dame Zaha Mohammed Hadid, DBE, a leading light in architecture, passed away in the hospital at the age of 65. She suffered a heart attack on Thursday while in Miami, where she was being treated for bronchitis.

Zaha Hadid by Brigitte Lacombe

Zaha Hadid by Brigitte Lacombe

Hadid, the ‘Queen of the Curve’ was a trailblazer in many areas as she was the first woman and Muslim to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, winning it in 2004. Later she received the Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011 and was also the first woman to receive the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) gold medal, earlier in 2016. Other awards included the Republic of France’s Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Japan’s Praemium Imperiale.

A pioneer for woman in architecture Hadid was ‘’was widely regarded to be the greatest female architect in the world today” as per the statement released by her company on the announcement of her death, and her legacy is evident on the architectural world today.

Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku - photo by HuftonCrow

Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku – photo by HuftonCrow

While she received critical acclaim for her buildings such as the the Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg, Germany (2005), the Maxxi: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome (2009), the London aquatics center for the 2012 Olympic Games (2011), the Heydar Aliyev Center (2012) in Baku, Azerbaijan and a stadium that will take center stage at the 2022 Soccer World Cup in Qatar, it wasn’t all plain sailing for Hadid. In the mid-1990’s, when she was a rising star, she won an international competition for the design of the Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales. Yet the British government disgracefully refused to pay for her design, following opposition from local lobbyists and the project was eventually handed over to a lesser talent – an outcome that was devastating for Hadid and a blow to architectural history. These designs were eventually used to create the Guangzhou opera house in China (2010) which was described by Nicolai Ouroussoff, writing for the New York Times as the “most alluring opera house built anywhere in the world in decades.”

MAXXI Museum of XXI Century Art, Rome - photo by Iwan Baan

MAXXI Museum of XXI Century Art, Rome – photo by Iwan Baan

Other buildings such as the Rosenthal Centre of Contemporary Art, her only completed building in the United States, in Cincinnati (2003) have transformed ideas of the future for architecture. As a visionary and highly experimental in her designs which were prone to higher costs, her critics were quick to comment on compromises with form over function owing to these complex designs, but her approach in design was one of where the shape came first and how to achieve it came later.

Contemporary Arts Center-Cincinnati - photo by Roland Halbe

Contemporary Arts Center-Cincinnati – photo by Roland Halbe

Although she had her critics, Hadid was unquestionably fearless in her approach, going where others wouldn’t or could not, her talent had no bounds and for that she will be missed.

Guangzhou Opera House, Guangzhou - photo by Virgile Simon Bertrand

Guangzhou Opera House, Guangzhou – photo by Virgile Simon Bertrand

 

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