In 2004, Hadid became the first woman and Muslim to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.
“Your success will not be determined by your gender or your ethnicity, but only on the scope of your dreams and your hard work to achieve them.” (via a postcard Hadid wrote to her younger self for BBC Arts)
She was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, in 2004.She received the UK’s most prestigious architectural award, the Stirling Prize, in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, she was made a Dame by Elizabeth II for services to architecture, and in 2015 she became the first and only woman to be awarded the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects.
She was described by The Guardian of London as the ‘Queen of the curve’,who “liberated architectural geometry, giving it a whole new expressive identity.” Her major works include the aquatic centre for the London 2012 Olympics, Michigan State University’s Broad Art Museum in the US, and the Guangzhou Opera House in China.Some of her designs have been presented posthumously, including the statuette for the 2017 Brit Awards, and several of her buildings were still under construction at the time of her death, including the Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar, a venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Zaha Hadid was born on 31 October 1950 in Baghdad, Iraq, to an upper-class Iraqi family.
In the 1960s Hadid attended boarding schools in England and Switzerland.
Hadid studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before moving, in 1972, to London to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. There she studied with Rem Koolhaas, Elia Zenghelis and Bernard Tschumi. Her former professor, Koolhaas, described her at graduation as “a planet in her own orbit.”Zenghelis described her as the most outstanding pupil he ever taught. ‘We called her the inventor of the 89 degrees. Nothing was ever at 90 degrees. She had spectacular vision. All the buildings were exploding into tiny little pieces.” He recalled that she was less interested in details, such as staircases. The way she drew a staircase you would smash your head against the ceiling, and the space was reducing and reducing, and you would end up in the upper corner of the ceiling. She couldn’t care about tiny details. Her mind was on the broader pictures—when it came to the joinery she knew we could fix that later. She was right. Her fourth-year student project was a painting of a hotel in the form of a bridge, inspired by the works of the Russian suprematist artist Kazimir Malevich.
After graduation in 1977, she went to work for her former professors, Koolhaas and Zenghelis, at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.Through her association with Koolhaas, she met the architectural engineer Peter Rice, who gave her support and encouragement.
She opened her own architectural firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, in London in 1980.
She then began her career teaching architecture, first at the Architectural Association, then, over the years at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge University, the University of Chicago, the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Columbia University. She earned her early reputation with her lecturing and colourful and radical early designs and projects, which were widely published in architectural journals but remained largely unbuilt. Her ambitious but unbuilt projects included a plan for Peak in Hong Kong (1983), and a plan for an opera house in Cardiff, Wales, (1994). The Cardiff experience was particularly discouraging; her design was chosen as the best by the competition jury, but the Welsh government refused to pay for it, and the commission was given to a different and less ambitious architect. Her reputation in this period rested largely upon her teaching and the imaginative and colourful paintings she made of her proposed buildings. Her international reputation was greatly enhanced in 1988 when she was chosen to show her drawings and paintings as one of seven architects chosen to participate in the exhibition “Architect in Architecture” curated by Philip Johnson and Mark Wigley at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
One of her first clients was Rolf Fehlbaum the president-director general of the Swiss furniture firm Vitra.
In 1993, he invited Hadid to design a small fire station for the factory. Her radical design, made of raw concrete and glass, was a sculptural work composed of sharp diagonal forms colliding together in the centre. The design plans appeared in architecture magazines before construction. When completed, it only served as a fire station for a short period of time, as Weil am Rhein soon opened their own fire station. It became an exhibit space instead, and is now on display with the works of Gehry and other well-known architects. It was the launching pad of her architectural career.
Awards and Honors
Hadid was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2002 Birthday Honours and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to architecture.
Hadid was named an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Architects. She was on the board of trustees of The Architecture Foundation.
In 2002, Hadid won the international design competition to design Singapore’s one-north master plan. In 2004, Hadid became the first female recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.In 2005, her design won the competition for the new city casino of Basel, Switzerland and she was elected as a Royal Academician. In 2006, she was honored with a retrospective spanning her entire work at the Guggenheim Museum in New York; that year she also received an Honorary Degree from the American University of Beirut.
In 2008, she was ranked 69th on the Forbes list of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women”. In 2010, she was named by Time as an influential thinker in the 2010 TIME 100 issue. In September 2010 the New Statesman listed Zaha Hadid at number 42 in its annual survey of “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures of 2010”.
In 2013, she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4. In 2014, 2015 and 2016, Hadid appeared on Debrett’s list of the most influential people in the UK.In January 2015, she was nominated for the Services to Science and Engineering award at the British Muslim Awards.
She won the Stirling Prize, the UK’s most prestigious award for architecture, two years running: in 2010, for one of her most celebrated works, the MAXXI in Rome,and in 2011 for the Evelyn Grace Academy, aZ‐shaped school in Brixton, London. She also designed the Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park in Seoul, South Korea, which was the centrepiece of the festivities for the city’s designation as World Design Capital 2010. In 2014, the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre, designed by her, won the Design Museum
Design of the Year Award, making her the first woman to win the top prize in that competition.
In 2016 in Antwerp, Belgium a square was named after her, Zaha Hadidplein, in front of the extension of the Antwerp Harbour House designed by Zaha Hadid.
Google celebrated her achievements with a Doodle on May 31, 2017, to commemorate the date (in 2004) on which Hadid became the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. Zaha Hadid- 31 October 1950 – 31 March 2016.
Antwerp Port House-Antwerp, Belgium
Riverside Museum, Glasgow, Scotland
Guangzhou Opera House china
Vitra fire station Germany
Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Hotel Puerta America , Madrid, Spain
BMW Central Building,Leipzig, Germany
Ordrupgaard annexe,Copenhagen, Denmark
Phaeno Science Center,Wolfsburg, Germany
R Lopez De Heredia Wine Pavilion,Haro, La Rioja, Spain
Sheikh Zayed Bridge ABU DHABI
Capital Hill Residence in Moscow, Russia.
Napoli Afragola railway station, Italy
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